Cap’n Dan’s Tour Henry Peter
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CONTENTS SPRING 2019
FEATURES 24 | ‘DEAR DR. SAGAN’ Life lessons from a childhood fan letter to a celebrity scientist. By Shawn Garvey
PHOTO OF EATONVILLE CITY COUNCIL AND JAIL COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (LOMAX COLLECTION)
30 | FIRST AND GOAL Winter Park players, coaches and benefactors helped kick off UCF’s no-longer-humble football program. By George Diaz with Randy Noles 46 | STILL SASSY AT 60 As the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival completes a milestone year, here’s a look at the event’s wild ride through the decades. By Randy Noles, additional material by Mike Boslet and Alice Moulton 58 | MARKED, UNMARKED, REMEMBERED Exhibits explore African American experiences and historic ties that bind Maitland and Eatonville. By Scot French, exhibit and research text, and Randy Noles, editor
DEPARTMENTS HISTORY 14 | WISH YOU WERE HERE From boarding houses to luxurious resorts, Winter Park always made visitors feel welcomed. Unpretentious 17-92 was the egalitarian epicenter of motor court culture. By Randy Noles, photography by Rafael Tongol DINING 76 | IT’S BOTH RAW AND REFINED Rare-in-Orlando Japanese fish, flavored inventively, make sleek Sushi Pop ideal for diners who think they’ve tried everything. By Rona Gindin, photography by Rafael Tongol
70 | SPRINGTIME AT THE CASA The historic home and museum remains forever fashionable. Photography by Rafael Tongol, styling by Marianne Ilunga, makeup and hair by Elsie Knab
IN EVERY ISSUE
82 | GATHERINGS Winter Parkers got an eyeful at the grand opening of Park Hill, new townhomes located directly on Park Avenue. Photography by Art Faulkner
8 | FIRST WORD 12 | COVER ARTIST 92 | EVENTS 95 | ARTSBEAT 104 | THE POEM
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A VERY AGREEABLE BIG IDEA
he City of Culture and Art, genteel as it may appear, is rife with factions. Much of the rancor plays out over social media and in alarming flyers that appear in mailboxes around election time. In Winter Park, of course, that’s every year. Disagreements over what should be done — or what should not be done — to keep Winter Park charming, beautiful, unique and family friendly are what prompt everything from heated but informed dialogue (healthy) to propagation of outright conspiracy theories (unhealthy). Big ideas are usually controversial, especially here. Which is why philanthropist Steve Goldman and his nascent Winter Park Land Trust have already accomplished something improbable but important: They’ve proposed a big idea that virtually everyone seems to support. In late February, I attended a launch event for the land trust that attracted more than 300 people to the Winter Park Farmers’ Market on New York Avenue. There I saw developers and preservationists, politicians and activists, newcomers and old-timers. Some of the people who showed up disagree with one another about almost everything, except this: The Winter Park Land Trust is an idea whose time has come. The land trust is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is “to plan, finance and manage the acquisition of land and interests in land to be used for the creation, expansion, improvement and connection of parkland and green space within and adjacent to the City of Winter Park.” Goldman — a committed doer not known for embracing Quixotic or symbolic campaigns — has floated the notion among community members and elected officials for years. Now, he and a diverse volunteer board of trustees have made it a reality. Such organizations work. There are more than 1,200 similarly structured land trusts across the U.S., and about 20 statewide. The concept, then, isn’t
new; it’s just new to Central Florida. And its rollout comes on the heels of Winter Park’s 2016 visioning exercise, through which residents indicated that improving, expanding and connecting the city’s urban parks and green space should be a major priority. But cities — even affluent ones like Winter Park — don’t always have the resources (or the foresight) to acquire and hold land for preservation. That’s why it was significant that Winter Park City Manager Randy Knight spoke at the kickoff event, expressing his enthusiasm for working with the new organization. Chris Castro, director of sustainability for the City of Orlando and a land trust board member, told the crowd that the organization — if it’s successful — could be the first of many in the region that could collaborate and create a network of parks and protected open space. Representatives from The Nature Conservancy and Conservation Florida also spoke, as did Winter Park native Hannah Miller, a land trust board member who recalled that the city’s iconic natural places “shaped my childhood and who I am today — and they define the quality of life in our community.” Goldman says the land trust will make an impact if enough people care and get involved. “It’s our hope that word will spread, and many residents will become members,” he said. Consider the word spread. It’s well worth your while to visit winterparklandtrust.org and find out how you can help. Certainly, we can agree on that much.
I’m pleased to announce that Billy Collins has joined us as a contributor. Wait, did I just write that sentence? Yes, I did — and it’s true. The bestselling author, former two-term U.S. Poet Laureate, member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College has agreed to mine his catalogue of poetry, share his favorites and discuss their inspiration in a column called “The Poem.” I always thought Winter Park Magazine could say it had truly arrived only when Billy’s byline appeared somewhere in its pages. And now it does, on page 96. Speaking of contributors, some of my favorite Winter Park Magazine covers have been painted by the incomparable Henry Peter. This issue’s cover is an image that Henry shared last year. I wanted to use it, but it was vertically shaped and would have required cropping. Most artists, understandably, don’t care for cropping. Recently, I gave Cap’n Dan’s Boat Tour another look and couldn’t resist. I decided to ask for Henry’s permission to tinker. “OK, you can crop it,” Henry said. “But if you do, please run the full image inside the magazine so people can see the original.” Done: Here’s the painting as it looked before being altered to fit the cover. I think you’ll agree that it’s a perfect spring image either way. — Randy Noles
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Copyright 2019 by Winter Park Publishing Company LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder. Winter Park Magazine is published four times yearly by Winter Park Publishing Company LLC, 201 West Canton Avenue, Suite 125B, Winter Park, Florida 32789.
FOR GENERAL INFORMATION, CALL: 407-647-0225 For advertising information, call: Kathy Byrd, 407-399-7111; Theresa Swanson, 407-448-8414; or Heather Stark, 407-616-3677 Like us on Facebook or visit us online at winterparkmag.com
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LET’S JUST BE REALISTIC
LANDSCAPE ARTIST HENRY PETER’S PAINTINGS ARE PICTURE PERFECT.
Henry Peter, a self-taught artist known for the photographic quality of his paintings, has found collectors on four continents for his striking depictions of outdoor scenes. He describes his work as “simple and direct; free of artifice and superficial mannerisms.”
enry Peter, a native of Burglengenfeld, Germany, and a resident of Brevard County, is primarily a self-taught artist. Which is remarkable considering the photographic quality of his paintings. Peter is one of Winter Park Magazine’s most popular cover artists. Just last fall, he provided a cover image of the iconic exedra in Kraft Azalea Garden. This issue, he turns his attention to the popular Scenic Boat Tour, which traverses two lush canals connecting lakes Osceola, Maitland and Virginia. The original painting, called Cap’n Dan’s Tour, is a vertical image, so only a detail is shown on the cover. The entire, uncropped work is reproduced on page 8. The Scenic Boat Tour is one of Florida’s oldest attractions, in operation since 1938, and has for generations been a must for local visitors. As a 12-year-old in Engelwood, New Jersey, Peter recalls receiving a few lessons on color and theory from painter Margaret Stucki, a vehement realist who, ironically, moved to Brevard County in 1973
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and taught art for Rollins College when it offered evening programs at Patrick Air Force Base. “When I moved down here, I tried to get in touch with her but didn’t hear back,” says Peter of Stucki, who wrote a book denouncing contemporary art as “crud.” She died in 2017 — but would likely be pleased that her former pupil has garnered a large following with his meticulous (and vivid) depictions of outdoor scenes. The first work by Peter to appear on the cover of Winter Park Magazine was a 2015 image of the Venetian Canal and the Palmer Avenue Bridge. Several dozen readers emailed to ask who had taken the beautiful photograph — which was, in fact, an oil painting. Peter earned a degree in philosophy from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and after graduation apprenticed in a machine shop. But by the late 1980s, his paintings had begun winning regional and national awards. In 1993, Peter made his first trip to Florida,
where he displayed his work at the Old Island Days Festival. He moved to Key West a decade later, then relocated to Titusville in 2008. Peter’s paintings have been selected for the Top 100 in the prestigious Arts for the Parks competition, a program created by the National Park Academy of the Arts to benefit the National Park Conservation Alliance. He was a mainstay at Key West’s Gingerbread Square Gallery for almost two decades and has been represented by the Fredlund Gallery in Winter Park. Peter describes his work as “simple and direct; free of artifice and superficial mannerisms.” He enjoys being artistically unpredictable, and applies his keen eye and steady hand to a broad range of subjects — not just landscapes. You can find Peter’s paintings on display at the Cocco & Salem Gallery in Key West, Palm Avenue Fine Arts in Sarasota and the Village Gallery in Orlando. — Randy Noles
One of the better motels along U.S. Highway 17-92 in Winter Park was the Lake Shore Motor Court. It was a member of Quality Courts United — now the Choice Hotels International chain — which was formed in 1939 by independent owners who established mandatory quality standards and referred business to one another.
WISH YOU WERE HERE From boarding houses to luxurious resorts, Winter Park always made visitors feel welcomed. Unpretentious 17-92 was the egalitarian epicenter of motor court culture. BY RANDY NOLES PHOTOGRAPHS BY RAFAEL TONGOL
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ore than a century ago, during the winter months, wealthy Northerners ensconced themselves at luxury resort hotels in fledgling Winter Park. Many visitors ended up investing in the community and ultimately moving here. By the 1930s and 1940s, middle-class families were flocking to more modest accommodations — including tourist cottages — along U.S. Highway 17-92 (the colloquially named “Million-Dollar Mile”). And by the 1950s, Winter Park boasted the swank and swinging Langford Resort Hotel, where the Empire Room supper club epitomized Rat Pack culture. The Winter Park History Museum, consequently, has been saluting the golden age of local hotels and motels in its current exhibition, Wish You Were Here: The Hotels & Motels of Winter Park. The exhibition runs until June 6, 2020. The cozy museum space is packed with sometimeskitschy ephemera from the city’s classic motels and motor courts — including a re-created guest room using authentic furnishings, right down to the matchbooks and the Gideon bible in the end-table drawer. Also examined are the luxurious resort hotels that attracted monied Northerners to Winter Park in the late 1880s. There’s even a re-imagined Victorian-era children’s playroom of the sort where guests of the posh Seminole
Winter Park History Museum Executive Director Susan Skolfield says artifacts for Wish You Were Here were donated or loaned. The wall-sized backdrop, created by graphic artist Will Setzer, shows the Genius Preserve and one of its feathered residents.
S PRING 2 0 1 9 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Linda Kulmann (above left), the museum’s archivist and past board president, wrote copy for Wish You Were Here’s informative panels, which offer a historical perspective on Winter Park’s guest accommodations, from boarding houses to resort hotels. Helping to make the most of the museum’s compact space is Camilo Velasquez (above right), an art instructor at Valencia College, Rollins College and the Crealdé School of Art, who is responsible for staging and exhibit design. Wish You Were Here is packed with sometimes-kitschy ephemera, including a telephone and directory from the Langford Resort Hotel (that’s also the Langford’s original poolside bar) and a re-created motel guest room using authentic furnishings, right down to the matchbooks and the Gideon bible in the end-table drawer.
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Hotel or Alabama Hotel might have stashed their youngsters while they were out boating. A nostalgic highlight of the exhibition is the original piano from the Empire Room as well as the hotel’s poolside bar from which untold gallons of tropical drinks were served. And take time to read the wall panels, which are dense with vintage photographs and carefully researched descriptions. Linda Kulmann, the museum’s archivist and past board president, wrote the panels, which range from histories of early boarding houses to a locator map of mom-and-pop motor courts once located along U.S. Highway 17-92 (also known as Orlando Avenue). Susan Skolfield, the museum’s executive director, says artifacts on display for the exhibition were donated or loaned. The Langford piano, for example, was loaned by the family that purchased it at auction when the hotel closed. “Because our space is small, every item has to mean something,” adds Skolfield, who says more than 20 volunteers began scouting for materials a year in advance of the exhibition’s opening. “We’re always creating as we go along.” Helping to make the most of the space — which measures less than 1,000 square feet — is Camilo Velasquez, an art instructor at Valencia College, Rollins College and the Crealdé School of Art.
“You might say I’m the make-up man,” says Velasquez, who stages and designs most of the museum’s exhibitions. Creative use of lighting and object placement can make the compact venue appear larger, he says.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the exhibition is the emphasis on the Million-Dollar Mile, which was a much more modest destination than its hyperbolic name suggests. Its friendly vibe and affordably priced accommodations appealed to middle-class travelers, who for several decades created something of a subculture along U.S. Highway 17-92. Which begs the question: Why did these visitors come to Winter Park instead of Orlando, a much larger city? Why, for that matter, did they come to Winter Park instead of New Smyrna Beach or Daytona Beach? Wouldn’t a vacationer driving from the icy Midwest or Northeast find a beach destination more appealing? Of course, Winter Park had attractions of its own. There was quaint Park Avenue for shopping and a gorgeous Chain of Lakes for recreation. Rollins College, the state’s oldest institution of higher learning, enlivened the cultural scene for residents and visitors alike. And the beaches weren’t far away by car.
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HISTORY Joy Wallace Dickinson’s grandparents, Bill and Alice Wallace, owned a grocery store along the Million-Dollar Mile. It was called B and D Market, located at 1000 South Orlando Avenue. Shown (left) are the Wallaces and their 5-year-old granddaughter. Now a journalist and a local historian, Dickinson (below) recently gave a nostalgic presentation about Winter Park’s once-thriving motor court industry for the Winter Park History Museum.
But the Million-Dollar Mile’s appeal may have had more to do with its folksy ambience. It was an unfussy home away from home, sans the snow. “Families from up north built long-term relationships with the motor court owners and just kept coming back,” speculates Kulmann. “Some of it was probably familiarity.” Local historian Joy Wallace Dickinson, whose grandparents owned a grocery store on the periphery of the Million-Dollar Mile — B and D Market, at 1000 South Orlando Avenue — agrees. “People also tended to stay in places their friends told them about,” she says. “There were plenty of annual visitors who just enjoyed it here and spread the word among their friends. A kind of community developed.” It didn’t hurt that Winter Park was a convenient place to stop en route to South Florida, Dickin-
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son adds. “It’s right in the middle of the state,” she says. “I expect quite a few people who stayed along the Million-Dollar Mile were coming back from, or were on their way to, someplace else.” Dickinson, who recently gave a presentation about Winter Park’s motor court heyday during the museum’s monthly membership meeting, noted that Orange Blossom Trail — today synonymous with sleaze — was once also dotted with family-oriented motels, including the eye-catching Wigwam Village, which was demolished in 1973. Virtually all of Winter Park’s motor courts were mom-and-pop, meaning that they were literally owned and managed primarily by husbands and wives — many of whom lived and raised families in the motor courts that they managed. For travelers, it was comforting to be greeted warmly by a hospitable couple who would meet them at the office door, personally escort them to their rooms or cottages, and help them unload their luggage. Many were annual extended-stay customers who developed close friendships with the owners. The courtyards created a back-home familiarity as both owners and travelers gathered for evening conversations while children frolicked in courtyard pools and playgrounds. Old acquaintances were renewed and new acquaintances were made as guests gathered to gossip and swap tales of their road experiences. They dined nearby at Anderson’s Restaurant, grabbed a burger at Roper’s Grill — which boasted one of the first “animated” neon signs in Central Florida — or enjoyed a sugar fix at the Donut Dinette.
If it was a special occasion, D’Agostino’s Villa Nova or the Imperial House — “where the royal rib reigns supreme” — offered more upscale options. In nearby Orlando, nightclubs advertised programs packed with comics and crooners. It should be remembered, however, that such idyllic getaways were available only to white families in the Jim Crow era. Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African-American families often consulted The Negro Motorist Green Book to find lodgings, businesses and gas stations that would serve them. Likely, none in Winter Park would have been listed. Wright’s Motor Lodge (300 South Orlando Avenue), built in the 1930s by Mr. and Mrs. Herbert B. Wright, was one of the first to be constructed along the Million-Dollar Mile. By the 1950s it was owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. J. Stephan. A postcard printed by the Stephans touted Wright’s — they hadn’t changed the name — as “the right place to stay.” Other advantages: “New fireproof buildings. Private baths with tile showers. Plenty of hot water at all times. Innerspring mattresses. Insulated rooms. Cool in summer, warm in winter. Cottages off the road.” Down the road at 848 South Orlando Avenue — today the site of a Steak ’n Shake — was Baggett’s Cottages, described as “modern in every respect” with a location “in the midst of an orange grove where guests can pick their own oranges right off the tree.” Other motor courts with identifiable owners included Dandee Cottages (103 North Orlando Avenue) owned by Mr. and Mrs. Edward Wittman; 17-92 Motor Court (401 North Orlando Avenue) owned by Mr. and Mrs. D.I. Sigman; Colonial Motor Court (400 South Orlando Avenue) owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jim Ward; and Greystone Manor Motor Court (700 South Orlando Avenue) owned by Mr. and Mrs. Carl Bleyl. The Lake Shore Motor Court (215 South Orlando Avenue) exemplified the best of these momand-pop operations. It was a member of Quality Courts United — now the Choice Hotels International chain — which was formed in 1939 by seven independent owners who established mandatory quality standards and referred business to one another. As it grew and morphed into a franchise, Quality
Courts United also worked to overcome negative perceptions of motor courts as either seedy or hideouts for gangsters and other undesirables. Members were endorsed by the American Automobile Association and received a stamp of approval from nationally known travel and food writer Duncan Hines. In its brochures, the Lake Shore Motor Court touted its Quality Courts United membership as well as its playground and its private beach on Lake Killarney. Promised one promotional flyer: “The accommodations are certain to please the most fastidious of travelers and vacationers.”
The three-decade motor court era in Winter Park was not destined to last. Fundamental changes in the roadside-accommodation industry were well underway by the 1970s. By the late 1950s, some motor courts had added second stories and offered amenities normally associated with downtown hotels. These larger
accommodations were advertised as “motels,” a portmanteau of motor and hotel. Individually owned motels became cookiecutter corporate properties designed to resemble downtown hotels. Holiday Inn was an early example of such a franchise. Quality standards may have become more predictable, but the quirky charm of motel architecture from the 1920s through the 1950s was lost forever. Additionally, multistory accommodations such as Winter Park’s legendary Langford Hotel contained all the amenities of a downtown hotel as well as parking facilities and an outdoor pool of the sort ordinarily associated with roadside motels and motor courts. The Langford, located at the corner of New England and Interlachen avenues, was also within walking distance of Rollins and Park Avenue. It was closed in 2000 and demolished in 2003. The upscale Alfond Inn, developed by Rollins, now occupies this choice piece of real estate. These developments, along with the construction of Interstate 4 and the arrival of Disney World — which spurred construction of countless hotels on and around the attraction — led to the decline and, by the 1990s, the demise of motels and motor courts along U.S. Highway 17-92. “The small, family-owned motels, where friends meet on vacations and return year after year to the
same kitchenettes and swimming pools, may soon go the way of downtown grocery stores and 35-cent gas,” wrote the Orlando Sentinel in 1979. “For the remaining ‘ma and pa’ motels along U.S. Highway 17-92 in Winter Park, the future appears bleak.” When the iconic Mount Vernon Inn (110 South Orlando Avenue) was razed in 2015, Winter Park lost the last remnant of motel culture along the Million-Dollar Mile, which is now brimming with new dining and retail projects. These days, motorists can’t even see Lake Killarney from the traffic-choked highway. There is, however, one remaining vestige of those simpler days: La Siesta Court was located at 325 South Orlando Avenue. Today it has retained its U-shaped bones but has been refashioned into a series of retail stores, including the popular Black Bean Deli. Wish You Were Here, like all History Museum exhibitions, is free and open to the public — although donations are gladly accepted. The museum is in the Farmers’ Market building at 200 West New England Avenue. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit wphistory.org. Portions of this story incorporate research by Jack Lane, professor emeritus of history at Rollins College. S PRING 2 0 1 9 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
PHOTO RESTORATION BY WILL SETZER/CIRCLE 7 DESIGN STUDIO
The Million-Dollar Mile was lined with inexpensive restaurants that catered to locals as well as motor court guests. One of the most colorful of those eateries was Roper’s Grill, which boasted that “it takes 3 minutes to prove we have the best hamburger.”
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As a child, Shawn Garvey was fascinated by the heavens. He still is, although as a pastor he now views the topic from both a theological and a scientific point of view.
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Life lessons from a childhood fan letter to a celebrity scientist.
hen I was 12 years old, the age now of my youngest son, I became enthralled with astronomy. It was 1980, and I was living with my family in South Dakota, where the night sky was — and presumably still is — a spectacular sight to behold. It was easy to see the Milky Way once your eyes adjusted to the dark. And the view from horizon to horizon was almost entirely unencumbered. At the same time, the Voyager 1 and 2 missions to Jupiter and Saturn were underway. In school, we saw incredible images that these spacecraft transmitted back to Earth from the outer solar system. To a sixth-grader with a big imagination, the impact was profound. It was serendipitous, then, that in 1980 Carl Sagan’s brilliant TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage premiered on PBS. Every Sunday evening for 13 weeks, I was transfixed by a program that would eventually be seen by 500 million people worldwide. The New York Times referred to the premier of Cosmos as “a watershed moment for science-themed television programming.” It was certainly a watershed moment for me. To this day I remain fascinated by the mysteries of the universe. S PRING 2 0 1 9 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
By Shawn Garvey
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Among the more than 500,000 items that Carl Sagan collected during his lifetime was a poignant fan letter from a 12-year-old boy named Shawn Garvey. The letter was rediscovered decades later by a graduate student, who was so moved by the sentiments expressed that she contacted Garvey to tell him about her discovery.
One of Sagan’s greatest gifts was as a communicator of science. I was so enthralled that I became a huge Sagan fanboy and wrote him a letter at Cornell University, where he was a professor of astronomy and director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. I didn’t hear back from the celebrity scientist, who died in 1996. And, with the passage of time, the memory of what, exactly, I had written to my hero had become as hazy as the surface of Titan (Saturn’s largest moon, about which Sagan advanced theories later proved to be true). Then, last year, the letter resurfaced in an unexpected and extraordinary way. One day while working at home, I received a message on Facebook from a young woman who said that she was a senior at Yale working on a thesis about Sagan and Cosmos. She had been in Washington, D.C., at the Library of Congress, which in 2012 took possession of nearly 800 boxes filled with documents — more than 500,000 items, including letters, journals, photographs, book drafts and more — that Sagan had collected during his lifetime. Among Sagan’s correspondence, the young
woman had happened upon a fan letter from a 12-year-old boy named Shawn Garvey. She wanted to know if I was the same Shawn Garvey whose words covering two sheets of lined notebook paper had made her cry in the documents room. Astounded, I confirmed that I was, indeed, the writer. But why, I wondered, had a preteen boy’s fan letter made her cry? I asked her to kindly scan this childhood relic and email it to me. Upon receiving the image, decades receded and memories rushed back. It was emotional — a little uncomfortable, perhaps — but it reminded me of who I was as a sixth-grader in Vermillion, struggling to find his way. My spelling wasn’t perfect, but my penmanship was as neat as my capabilities allowed. I gushed to Sagan about being a fan of his and of Cosmos. (“You and your show are the most wonderful things I’ve ever known.”) Then I veered into “something personell.” Or, as I would spell it today, something “personal.” “People (quite a few) think I’m different and don’t like me,” I wrote. “Would you be my friend? You’d be the best friend I had (practically the only one, too!)” I had absolutely no memory of writing a letter so raw to a stranger. Perhaps it speaks to Sagan’s relatability that I felt as though I could confide in him. Certainly, I remembered having those feelings throughout much of middle school. Sitting in the garage reading the words of a younger me, I thought about my own sons.
I don’t know why Sagan kept the letter (and an accompanying pencil portrait I created using a photograph from a Cosmos book jacket as a reference). But it’s a blessing to have it back after so many years. Now, when my boys come home from school and describe their struggles — the same struggles that most middle-schoolers experience — I can share with them a letter showing that I experienced the same anxieties at their age. Used as a teaching tool, the letter demonstrates that there is a future reality in which things do, in fact, get better. We can grow into lives that we couldn’t have imagined when we were in the throes of adolescence and experiencing the discomfort, fear, insecurity and uncertainty that comes with growing up. The person my sons see today is Daddy — a grown man who is blessed with a loving family. He pastors a historic church in a beautiful city located conveniently near Disney World. He doesn’t need much persuasion to play the guitar and sing in front of an audience. Now, though, they can also know the Daddy who existed long before he was Daddy to them. They can know the 12-year-old boy who often felt alone, but found joy in the grand mysteries of the cosmos and the scientist from Cornell who made him feel connected to it all. Shawn Garvey is the senior minister at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park. S PRING 2 0 1 9 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
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Michael O’ Shaughnessy wasn’t the biggest offensive lineman to play college football — not even the biggest offensive lineman to play Division III college football. But he was ferocious and spirited, and helped lead the first UCF Knights squad to a winning record.
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GOAL WINTER PARK PLAYERS, COACHES AND BENEFACTORS HELPED KICK OFF UCF’S NO-LONGER-HUMBLE FOOTBALL PROGRAM. By George Diaz with Randy Noles
oughly eight and a half miles separate Winter Park from the University of Central Florida campus in east Orlando. But the route is rich with football history, from Division III UCF’s first snap against tiny St. Leo three decades ago to the university’s subsequent emergence as an upstart Football Bowl Subdivision powerhouse that claimed a mythical national championship for the 2017 season. The Knights, you’ll recall, went unbeaten in the 2017 regular season and then whipped Auburn in the Peach Bowl. The Tigers had been the only team to beat both Alabama and Georgia, who were paired against one another for the official national championship in Atlanta. Orlando’s Hometown Team — seething over the perceived unfairness of the College Football Playoff system and eager to show that its success was no fluke — went unbeaten again in the 2018 season, only to fall to LSU
in the Fiesta Bowl. It was the team’s first loss in two years. Say what you will about the playoff selection process and about that national championship hype fest. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion. But the fact that UCF was even in the conversation demonstrated how far the program had come since 1979, when a then-remote commuter school assembled a ragtag band of nonscholarship scrappers and set its sights on one day going helmet to helmet with college football’s elites. Winter Park can take a collective bow and celebrate its role in helping UCF’s gridiron dream become a reality. In 1979, the Knights had no locker room, players had to bring their own cleats and equipment was donated. Head coach Don Jonas, one-time quarterback of the American Football League’s Orlando Panthers, worked the first season gratis. Home games were played in the S PRING 2 0 1 9 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
“There were football players trying to find a home. And guys like me — bouncers and fighters — who were looking for an opportunity. A lot of scrappers.” — Michael O’Shaughnessy
Don Jonas (above), previously quarterback of the American Football League’s Orlando Panthers, coached the first season of UCF football gratis. The program was rescued from financial ruin a few years later when Winter Park businessman Steve Slack (below) implemented a series of raucous fundraising events.
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Tangerine Bowl (today Camping World Stadium) in downtown Orlando. Today, UCF’s on-campus Kenneth G. Dixon Athletics Village is anchored by Spectrum Stadium, which seats 44,206. The village is undergoing a $25 million, privately funded expansion program that will include a resort-style lazy river and mini-golf course alongside the stadium. “I’m not surprised by any of it,” says Doug Schoen, a Winter Park High School graduate who was a starting offensive lineman at UCF from 1989 to 1993. Schoen, now a consultant and wellness entrepreneur, believes success was inevitable, considering UCF’s size, location and academic reputation. “Some people have no vision. But we did it.” Indeed they did. And the who matters just as much as the how. It’s easy to remember such high-profile players as quarterbacks Daunte Culpepper and Blake Bortles as well as tailback Marquette Smith, who set the school’s single-season record for rushing yards as a senior. More recently linebacker Shaquill Griffin, an amputee with one hand, received national media attention when he was drafted by the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. Who hasn’t gotten goosebumps from Griffin’s inspirational Gillette TV commercial? The best a man can get, indeed. It gets more challenging to connect the dots to other players, many of them lesser-known, who made that short journey from Winter Park to UCF. So let’s raise a glass to the 25 locals — including Brandon Marshall (wide receiver), Michael O’Shaughnessy (defensive lineman) and All-American Darin Slack (quarterback) — who have donned a Knights uniform. Marshall played with several NFL teams and is currently a free agent. O’Shaughnessy owns a Winter Park-based real estate brokerage company, while Slack is founder and president of National Football Academies — which in recent years has expanded to Europe. And let’s not forget other Winter Parkers who have walked on, including current players Kyle Benkel (wide receiver) and Alec Holler (tight end). Benkel played at Winter Park High School while Holler played at Trinity Prep.
And a moment of silence, please, for Jaime Lugo, who quarterbacked the Wildcats to the state finals in 1981 and was under center for UCF when the program made the painful leap to Division II in 1982. Lugo, who had been branch manager for a chain of tire stores, died in February at just 54. UCF’s football program also helped to develop a pair of Winter Park High School coaches. Tim Shifflet, now head coach of the Wildcats, was briefly an all-purpose assistant at UCF. Paul Lounsberry, a recently retired assistant on Shifflet’s staff, coached the offensive line at UCF for 12 years. Winter Park businesspeople did their share. Among the most notable was Steve Slack — father of the former quarterback — who rode to the rescue in the mid-’80s, when the UCF athletic department found itself $1 million in debt and some in the community were calling for the football program to be dismantled. Slack, owner of a specialty advertising company, helped launch a series of annual fundraisers that featured sports-related auctions. Thanks in part to proceeds from those events — dubbed “Gene’s Gatecrasher!” in honor of then-head coach Gene McDowell — the athletic department retired its debt in 1986. It was just another day at the office for the inventive Slack, who in 1978 had dreamed up the wildly successful “Zonies!” package when the old Tangerine Bowl was having trouble selling end-zone seats for its annual football game. He died in 2016, leaving Central Florida a less interesting place. So many stories. We can’t tell them all, but we can provide you with glimpses into the past through some of the names and faces who can proudly make the connection between Winter Park and UCF. Let’s cut through some generational ties and grab a glimpse of history, context and local pride.
MICHAEL O’SHAUGHNESSY Defensive Lineman, (1979-80) The fledging UCF football program welcomed all comers to the program as it prepped for its in-
UCFâ€™s final game of the first season was against Morehouse College. More than 13,000 fans watched a defensive struggle in which the Knights ground out a 14-7 win over the Maroon Tigers. UCF finished the season 6-2, and along the way set a Division III attendance record at its first home game against Fort Benning. More than 14,000 fans showed up at the Tangerine Bowl to see the Knights earn a tough 7-6 win over the Doughboys.
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Winter Parkers Tony and Sonja Nicholson have been crucial supporters of UCF football, donating $2 million for construction of the Nicholson Fieldhouse, the state’s first indoor practice facility for a college football team. In 2017, the couple donated another $2 million for upgrades to the fieldhouse and the area surrounding it.
augural season. Bouncers, fighters and misfits included. Come on down, Michael O’Shaughnessy, who had dropped out of Winter Park High School in the 10th grade and later earned an AA from Seminole Community College (now Seminole College). He enrolled at UCF, where he joined the baseball team as a catcher and left fielder. O’Shaughnessy was working as a bouncer at Sam’s Woodshed Pub and Rosie O’Grady’s when he joined 196 other guys for an open cattle call for players in the spring of 1979. “There were football players trying to find a home,” O’Shaughnessy says. “And guys like me — bouncers and fighters — who were looking for an opportunity. A lot of scrappers.” There weren’t a lot of perks. No scholarships, although Pell Grants could help ease the financial strain. Everybody brought their own cleats and socks, which made for a colorful display of diversity if you looked below the knees. O’Shaughnessy even brought his own helmet, which he had used in the eighth grade. UCF Athletic Director Jack O’Leary — who was the de facto head coach because there was no funding to hire anyone else — set a schedule for grueling three-a-day practices to weed out all but the toughest and most determined. (Three-a-days have subsequently been banned by the NCAA.) Speaking of weeds, players also famously got to lay sod on the practice field, which had been a golf driving range. Those who made the cut hung on to become a part of history when the Fighting Knights, now coached by Jonas, beat the St. Leo University Monarchs 21-0 on a rain-soaked cow pasture near Dade City. The team went on to finish 6-2 and averaged 11,000 fans per home game — huge for a Division III program.
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“Everybody was sick that first game,” recalls O’Shaughnessy, who speculates that breakfast in the UCF cafeteria may have been the culprit. “But maybe it was nervous sick.” O’Shaughnessy, who played two seasons, was one of the top defensive players ever to don a Knights uniform. He recorded 22 career sacks, including a still-standing school record for sacks in a game with five against Emory & Henry. He was named UCF’s Alumnus of the Decade for the 1980s and was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. A competitor at heart, O’Shaughnessy is also a Guinness world-record holder in the sport of paddle boarding, a four-time East Coast Paddle Board Champion and a six-time Florida State Paddle Board Champion. He and his wife, Leslie, co-founded the Millennium Woman Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has funded more than 250 educational scholarships to singleparent women nationwide. Always a UCF believer — O’Shaughnessy was voted by his teammates as “Most Spirited Player” in 1980 — he recalls a long-ago post-game interview with former Orlando Sentinel sports columnist Larry Guest. “Where do you think the program is headed?” asked Guest. Replied O’Shaughnessy: “We’re going to be right up there with the Gators and Seminoles in about a decade.” It took a little longer than that, of course, but the outcome was nothing less than O’Shaughnessy and his squad of fighters and misfits expected: “Everybody to a man knew this was going to be a big program.”
STEVE MOFFETT Quarterback, (2003-2006) There was a lot of “say what?” when Winter Park High School quarterback Steve Moffett turned down advances from the University of Georgia and other A-list programs to play for UCF. When Moffett broke the news to then-Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt, the reaction was bafflement. “He was taken aback,” Moffett recalls. “Like, ‘Whoa! This is the first time I lost a guy to UCF.’”
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After playing football at UCF and three seasons with the USFL, Ed Gantner won fame as Ed “The Bull” Gantner, a professional wrestling heel. Gantner, tormented by personal demons and debilitated by years of steroid use, committed suicide in 1990 and is buried in Winter Park’s Palm Cemetery.
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Edward J. Gantner is buried in Winter Park’s Palm Cemetery beneath a headstone that indicates a relatively short life: 1959-1990. Beneath his name and the dates of his birth and death are engraved the words, “The Gentle Giant.” The “giant” descriptor was certainly accurate — Gantner was 6-foot-4 and, at his peak, tipped the scales at a muscular 300 pounds. But to anyone who encountered him on the football field or in the wrestling ring, the word “gentle” likely didn’t come to mind. “Big Ed” Gantner, who played high school football at Edgewater, was a defensive tackle and a holy terror for opposing players who lined up against the first UCF squad. Although Gantner had been offered a football scholarship at the University of Tennessee, he spent less than a year in Knoxville before becoming homesick. He returned to Orlando and worked as a bartender and a bouncer before hearing that UCF was forming a football team. The fledgling Knights needed Gantner and he needed the Knights — a squad made up of other high-school jocks who, for one reason or another, the big schools had ignored or rejected. How important was UCF to Gantner? On opposing sides of his headstone are two markers, one of which shows the outline of a football with his jersey number, 75, etched inside its contours. The other marker reads “UCF 79-82,” which in retrospect may have been the best years of his tumultuous life. After starring at Edgewater and playing three seasons for UCF’s inaugural teams, Gantner, along with teammates Bill Giovanetti and Mike Sommerfield, was signed as a free agent by the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League. Gantner was the lone Knight remaining by the end of the first training camp, held at Tampa’s Hillsborough Community College. He then became the first UCF player to turn pro. His USFL run would last three seasons, in 1993 with Tampa Bay — coached by Steve Spurrier — and 1984 and 1985 with the Jacksonville Bulls. Joining the Orlando Renegades for 1986 was an option, but rumors persisted that the league might fold before the fall schedule began. The uncertainty compelled Gantner to call legendary wrestling promoter Eddie Graham and join his Tampa-based Championship Wrestling from Florida organization. He was trained by wrestling icon Hiro Matsuda and assigned to a stable of colorful grapplers “managed” by the villainous Sir Oliver Humperdink. Gantner had the size and the athleticism — as well as the outsized personality — needed to succeed as a heel (a bad guy) in the world of pro wrestling. Even 30 years ago, wrestling was understood by most to be scripted — but it was no less physically demanding and dangerous than most contact sports, including football. Billed as Ed “The Bull” Gantner, he rose up the ranks to become National Wrestling Alliance Florida Heavyweight Champion in 1987. But anabolic steroids — which he had used since high school — had begun taking a frightful toll on his body and mind. Gantner’s kidneys shut down and he would eventually need a transplant. His sister Deborah proved to be a match, and the surgery was performed in 1989. The Winter Park/UCF community stepped in to help as well. Michael O’Shaughnessy, a former teammate, set up a fund to help cover Gantner’s living expenses following the operation. “Ed didn’t want anybody to know how bad his plight was,” O’Shaughnessy says. “He closed himself up. But it became a rallying point for his teammates. I would hope they’d do the same for me.” Although the kidney transplant was successful, Gantner continued to battle the demons of depression and other mental health issues. He committed suicide by shooting himself on New Year’s Eve, 1990. He was 31 years old. “Ed Gantner was the best, for sure,” says O’Shaughnessy, when asked which player stood out during UCF’s inaugural season. “When my kids were very little, up until about 7th grade, we’d go to the cemetery every Halloween and my kids would lay on his gravestone. It was all in fun for Big Ed.”
While playing between the iconic hedges at Sanford Stadium may have brought more prestige back in the day, staying close to home had considerable perks. “There wasn’t much of a change,” says Moffett. “I just moved five miles down the street into the dorms. I was still coming home and making my mom wash my clothes and cook my food.” But a big change eventually came. Coach Mike Kruczek, who recruited Moffett, was fired late in the 2003 season. With Kruczek — who’s now head coach at Trinity Prep — went the spread offense playbook that attracted Moffett to UCF in the first place. Then in came crusty George O’Leary and his old-school I-set. The new coach’s hard-nosed attitude didn’t sit well with the young quarterback — who was already adjusting to a new offense — and begat one of the most bitter feuds in UCF football history. (O’Leary’s intense coaching style would come under scrutiny in 2008, when a UCF player, Ereck Plancher, died following a workout.) “O’Leary said I wasn’t worth [expletive] and I’d never play here,” Moffett told the Orlando Sentinel in 2008. Still, he led UCF to its first-ever bowl game (Hawaii Bowl, 2005) and is No. 5 on the all-time UCF list for completions (510), No. 7 in career yards (6,199) and tied for No. 7 in touchdown passes (41).
Moffett now owns a local roofing company and volunteers as a coach at Winter Park High School. “It’s good to see the bigger recruits going to UCF,” he says. “They feel the school is at the point now that they can compete and get national recognition. It feels good to talk to some of the former players with a knowledge that we had something to do with that.”
TONY AND SONJA NICHOLSON Philanthropic Fans Tony Nicholson has never played a down for UCF. But he’s a big-time game-changer. He was a decent high school player back in Chicago but found success in other endeavors after graduating from Tulane University and moving to Central Florida in 1967. A multifaceted entrepreneur and real estate developer who has also produced concerts, invested in Broadway shows and published magazines, Nicholson and his wife, Sonja — who owns Re/Max Park Avenue — have philanthropic hearts that have helped keep UCF ticking all these years. “I’ve lost a lot of friends at Tulane because of it, but in the meantime I’m very happy,” Nicholson says. In 1996, the Nicholsons pledged $2 million to the university, which named its School of Communication in their honor. They donated a cumulative $2 million for construction of the Nicholson Fieldhouse, the state’s first indoor practice facility for a college football team. But they weren’t finished. In 2017, the couple donated another $2 million for upgrades to the fieldhouse and the area surrounding it. Nicholson believes S PRING 2 0 1 9 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA
Danny White, UCF athletic director (left), and Josh Heupel, UCF head coach (right), are both Winter Park residents — and proud of it. White hired head coach Scott Frost, who delivered a mythical national championship only to bolt for the University of Nebraska in 2017. White then turned to Heupel, who coached the Knights to another undefeated regular season and finished third in the balloting for Associated Press Coach of the Year.
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Celebrating the success of UCF’s football program are former players, a current player and a booster. They include (left to right): Paul Lounsberry, Keith Benkel, Kyle Benkel, Tony Nicholson and Michael O’Shaughnessy. Kyle Benkel sports an impressive ring (facing page) that touts UCF’s highly publicized claim to the 2017 college football national championship.
the future for UCF football is bright and is already talking up the need to expand Spectrum Stadium. “It seems to me that we could add another 19,000 seats and some suites,” he says. “By doing that you can attract a lot more teams and a higher-profile league to get into. But we have to raise the money.” Any guesses on who’ll be the first to step up?
PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
KEITH AND KYLE BENKEL Father and Son Keith Benkel and Kyle Benkel are generational bookends. Father and son share the same DNA, of course, which in this case includes blood ties to Winter Park and UCF. Keith grew up in North Miami Beach and found his way to UCF as a walk-on wide receiver in 1986. Walk-ons do all the dirty work, helping the starters prep for the weekly scrums by playing on the scout team. He didn’t play much, although he traveled with the team between 1987 and 1989 and played on special teams during his last two seasons. Now national used car director with the Greenway Automotive Group in Orlando, Keith remains a loyal UCF supporter. He also serves on the executive board of the UCF Lettermen’s Club (which was founded by
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O’Shaughnessy). But ties with the university run deeper than that because of Kyle, 21, a walk-on wide receiver. The fact that Kyle was valedictorian at Winter Park High School in 2016, notching a perfect 4.0 GPA, is of little relevance on the football field. It’s a different competition there, where smarts are just part of a package that includes speed and strength. At 5-foot-9 and 184 pounds, Kyle won’t intimidate a lot of cornerbacks. “It can be frustrating sometimes with the amount of work you put in, but it’s not always about playing,” says the redshirt junior. “The way I see it, I’m contributing to this team and making a difference. The reward is winning as a team and celebrating with everybody.” His dad agrees: “Whether you’re a scholarship player or a walk-on, you bring something to the team. If everybody isn’t doing his part, you don’t win. We’re seeing tradition take hold right now. What’s happening today will be the tradition for the next 100 years for UCF football. We didn’t have that before.” Keith and Kyle are proud to have played roles in establishing that tradition, even if their numbers haven’t been called all that often. After all, contributing can also mean offering encouragement and inspiring others by giving it your all — regardless of where your name appears on the depth chart.
PAUL LOUNSBERRY Offensive Line Coach Paul Lounsberry is a UCF lifer. Please consider that a compliment. The record shows that Lounsberry coached the offensive line, along with some special-teams work, from 1987 through the spring of 2000. He then coached at Winter Park High School from 2013 until his retirement in 2016. But he’s still a presence at both campuses, connecting the dots between
PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
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LOCAL KNIGHTS Following are the Winter Parkers who have played for the UCF Knights since the program’s inception, including two current players:
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the UCF program and Winter Park. In fact, Lounsberry still doesn’t miss a UCF game or a practice. He’s always working the sidelines, offering encouragement, wisdom and perspective to a new generation of players. He can spread the word about Daunte Culpepper, who was a 10th-grader in Ocala when Lounsberry began recruiting him. He even helped arranged tutoring for the talented youngster to ensure that low grades and SAT scores wouldn’t endanger his eligibility. He can tell them about other players he recruited and coached, including Mike Gruttadauria, who won a Super Bowl as a starting center with the then-St. Louis Rams. He can tell them how tough it was to keep the program going back in the days when he and other assistants had to park cars as valets to pay their monthly bills. Now, he looks around in amazement. After the perfect 2017 campaign, when head coach Scott Frost left for the University of Nebraska, he wondered if the momentum could continue under new head coach Josh Heupel. “I really think Coach Josh and his staff are outstanding,” Lounsberry says. “They’ve done a marvelous job in a difficult situation. When you take over an undefeated team, there’s only one place to go — and that’s down.” Yet, Heupel led the Knights to another undefeated regular season and an American Athletic Conference Championship. A horrendous knee injury to starting quarterback McKenzie Milton against the University of South Florida undoubtedly contributed to the Fiesta Bowl loss versus LSU. Regardless, Lounsberry believes the team will continue to compete at the highest level. “I think you’re going to see continued success with that staff,” he notes. “The program is in the best shape it’s ever been in right now.” So many stories to share. Grab a cup of coffee or a beer next time you run into a Winter Parker with ties to UCF football. One of those Winter Parkers just might be Heupel, the head coach, who says, “I’m proud to call Winter Park, Orlando and the Central Florida area home.” Or it might be Danny White, the UCF athletic director, who adds, “My family and I live here, and we love it. I’m certainly proud that the community of Winter Park is part of Orlando’s Hometown Team.” Come to think of it, maybe the official municipal slogan should be changed to the City of Culture and Heritage and Football. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
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An Address in the Vias For decades, one of Winter Park’s most desirable and prestigious neighborhoods has been “The Vias.” That’s why Zoltan Homes is pleased to present 2218 Via Tuscany, a stunning new home situated on a quarter-acre homesite. This 4,423-squarefoot masterpiece of modern architecture, built by Zoltan Homes, boasts five bedrooms, five full baths and two half-baths. It is priced at $2.75 million — and is expected to sell quickly because of its quality, style and sought-after location.
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Park Avenue and Central Park come alive with art every spring during the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, which was held this year for the 60th time.
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60 AS THE WINTER PARK SIDEWALK ART FESTIVAL COMPLETES A MILESTONE YEAR, HERE’S A LOOK AT THE EVENT’S WILD RIDE THROUGH THE DECADES. By RANDY NOLES
Additional Material by Mike Boslet and Alice Moulton
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In 1964, this image of the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival was featured on the cover of the Winter Park Telephone Company’s city directory. The painting also appeared on postcards and on placemats at the Barbizon Restaurant and Gallery, where the idea for the festival was hatched.
inter Park’s most high-profile rite of spring is the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, which was held for the 60th year on March 15, 16 and 17 in Central Park. As many as 300,000 people, according to estimates, jammed the downtown business district to tour what has for decades been one of the most prestigious juried outdoor art extravaganzas in the Southeast. Many locals wouldn’t miss it. Many others steer clear because they can’t abide the crowds. In either case, few can remember a time when there wasn’t an art festival in Winter Park. And fewer still know how it all began. So, as the 60th annual event wraps up, it seems an appropriate time to explore its at-times tumultuous history. Remember 1960? Dwight D. Eisenhower was still president of the United States. But John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon were headed for the Democratic and Republican nominations, setting up an epic battle that would culminate with a narrow win for the young senator from Massachusetts. The tumult associated with the ’60s — Vietnam, assassinations, mass protests, racial unrest, the sexual revolution and more — was largely yet to come. Beatniks weren’t yet hippies, and Elvis — back home from serving in the U.S. Army in Germany — notched two of the year’s Top 10 records: “It’s Now or Never” and “Stuck on You.” Along Park Avenue, you could see a movie at the Colony Theater, check out the latest fashions at Proctor Center and scarf down an ice-cream sundae at Irvine’s Pharmacy or the Yum Yum Shop. But in January of that year, local history was made at the Barbizon Restaurant and Gallery — located at the corner of Park and Canton avenues, where Boca is now — when a group of friends who met regularly to while away slow afternoons hatched an audacious idea.
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Those present were Darwin Nichols, a potter who owned the restaurant, and artists Robert Anderson and Don Sill, who shared a nearby studio in the Hidden Gardens. Perhaps there were others — accounts vary — but Nichols mentioned only Anderson and Sill in a 2009 interview with Winter Park Magazine. All three have died in the past decade. In any case, those present reached a consensus that an outdoor art festival could be pulled together in a short time. Said Nichols: “We were sitting there having a glass of wine and we were thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a place where nonprofessional people — those not accomplished enough to be in galleries — could show their work?’” It only made sense. Local artists already displayed paintings at the Barbizon, where diners could buy them right off the walls. Plus, the gallerypacked city had a longstanding reputation as an artists’ colony. But organizational savvy was needed, so the friends recruited, among others, Edith Tadd Little, a patron of the arts — indeed, an artist herself — and for a time owner of an interior design business on Park Avenue. Little’s involvement all but assured success. A civic leader and booster of cultural causes, she had been designated “Mrs. Winter Park” in 1959 by the city commission. Revered for her energy and organizational acumen, some local businesspeople had affectionately nicknamed her “The General.” Among Little’s artistic credentials: She decorated the interior of the Annie Russell Theatre on the campus of Rollins College, even creating the stencils and painting the elaborate designs that adorn the ceiling. “Mother’s original idea was to have the festival for all the local artists and the art departments of all the schools, from kindergarten through college,” recalled the late Sally Behre, Little’s daughter, in a 1987 oral history interview with the Winter Park History Museum. But The General — who died in June 1960, just months after the inaugural
event — was too ill to lead the charge. (From 1965 through 1968, the Best of Show award would be named the Edith Tadd Little Medal in her memory.) Jean Oliphant, another formidable mover and shaker, chaired a hastily formed 18-member festival committee — its meetings were held in the Barbizon’s Blue Room — on which Little and about a dozen others served. (Oliphant, who died in 1990, would become known as “The Mother of the Sidewalk Art Festival.” Although some news stories place her at the initial “bull session” with Nichols, Anderson and Sill, it’s more likely that she joined the effort immediately thereafter.) Nichols agreed to kick in $50. Soon, Park Avenue merchants — delighted at the prospect of drawing potential customers to the quaint but sometimessleepy business district — stepped up to help defray expenses for what was initially billed, rather generically, as a “Sidewalk Art Show.”
Bohemian Rhapsody In early February 1960, the Orlando Evening Star announced the news with the headline: “Date Set for ‘Arty’ Park Ave. Three Days of Bohemia.” Just three weeks later, on March 3, 4 and 5 (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday), the inaugural event was held. For artists, promptness was the most important requirement. The first 90 to apply were accepted, and there was no entry fee. Regardless, thousands showed up to see painters, weavers and even makers of puppets and sundials. Schoolchildren also exhibited their creations. “None of us were prepared for the onslaught of people coming,” said Nichols, who died in 2016. He had clearly underestimated the allure of picture-postcard-pretty Park Avenue on a spring afternoon. “It was the windiest day I think we’d had in a long time,” noted Behre in the 1987 interview. Her young students from the Jack and Jill Kindergarten hung their paintings from a clothesline and chased them down when sharp gusts sent their colorful creations soaring. “[Artists] just had easels,” Behre recalled. “They didn’t have booths or anything like they have today. They would stack [their work] up at night, and Boy Scouts took turns sleeping in the park and patrolling the place.” By all accounts, despite the indiscriminate selection process, some very good work was displayed. The 1960 Best of Show winner — an oil painting of a foreboding forest by DeLand artist Arnold Loren Hicks — was selected by attendees who filled out ballots. A grateful Hicks — who had sold four of his paintings over the weekend — donated his $40 windfall back to the festival to help ensure that it would continue. It proved to be a wise investment; Hicks would win again in 1961, when the festival was compressed into two days and moved to Friday and Saturday. (From 1964 forward, it was a three-day event beginning on the third Friday in March.) Hicks, like all Best of Show winners, has an interesting backstory. By 1960, he was primarily a landscape painter. Early in his career, however, he painted lurid covers for pulp magazines and was a cartoonist for the legendary Classics Illustrated comic-book series. But Hicks wasn’t the only cartoonist-turned-fine-artist in the first festival. Frank King (“Gasoline Alley’’), Les Turner (“Captain Easy”) and Roy Crane (“Buzz Sawyer’’) also displayed the products of their painterly pursuits. All three lived in Winter Park. Another notable entrant — one whose participation instantly cemented the festival’s cultural credibility — was Jeannette Genius McKean, who displayed a selection of geometric abstracts.
Why don’t we have an art festival? Darwin Nichols, owner of the Barbizon Restaurant and Gallery (above), thought it could work. Nichols, Jean Oliphant, Bob Anderson and Don Sill (below) formed the core group of volunteers, and are generally considered to be the festival’s founders. The photo is from 1962.
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The first festival in 1960 had a show program (top right) but no official poster. Since 1972, though, the posters have been sold as prints and emblazoned on T-shirts. Many people collect them. Check out the top and bottom of pages 46 and 47 for images of all the past posters. Early festivals didn’t have booths for artists (bottom right), meaning the displays were more casual — and more exposed to the elements.
McKean was the granddaughter of industrialist and Winter Park benefactor Charles Hosmer Morse, in whose honor she named the Morse Gallery of Art on the Rollins campus. That museum would later become the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art on North Park Avenue. An accomplished businesswoman in her own right, McKean owned the Center Street Gallery, which showcased up-and-coming Florida artists, and was president of the Winter Park Land Company, which managed her grandfather’s vast holdings. She was married to Hugh F. McKean, a former art professor who had become president of Rollins in 1951. A nod from the McKeans — Winter Park’s original power couple and the embodiment of its artistic ambience — would have been important to festival organizers. The puzzle pieces came together. Yes, the event was hurriedly staged, but its supporters and organizers were civic dynamos who knew how to make things happen. Still, not even the most ardent boosters could have predicted what was to come. In 2019, the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival encompassed 225 artists vying for sales and a share of $74,500 in prize money. National publications such as Sunshine Artist, Art Fair Calendar and Art Fair Source Book frequently place the event at or near the top of their rankings. “I don’t know why it caught on like it did,” said Nichols in 2009. “I guess Winter Park is just an artsy place.”
Best of the Best While much about today’s festival is the same as it was 60 festivals ago, much is also different. Most notably, it’s no longer a showcase for enthusiastic local hobbyists. The juried event has for decades attracted roughly three times as many applicants as it has exhibit spaces. Participants and winners are selected by an independent trio of highly credentialed experts from outside Central Florida. But despite its size and sophistication, the whole shebang is still run by volunteers who’ve turned festival production into, well, an art form. The umbrella organization is called Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival Inc., a 501(c)4 not-for-profit corporation that consists of about 40 people on its board and executive committee. And there’s plenty for everyone to do. Despite its seat-of-the-pants starting point, the event quickly morphed from a casual weekend stroll in the park into a full-fledged regional happening with multiple components. In the early ’60s, entertainment began to be an important part of the festival experience. Students from the Royal School of Dance performed an original ballet, while nightclub entertainer and restaurateur Chappy McDonald tickled the ivories and sang. There were folksingers — including Gamble Rogers IV, the iconic architect’s son who would go on to have a legendary career as a balladeer — as well as high school bands, jazz combos, barbershop quartets and symphony orchestras. The number of artists also grew — there were 240 in 1963 and 300 in 1964, when the Best of Show winner earned a whopping $500. That year, the festival promoted itself as an event where “every artist and craftsman has
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an opportunity to show his creative ability.” Soon, that egalitarian approach would change. Crowds swelled, with up to 200,000 estimated in 1964, when outside judging was introduced. Park Avenue was closed to traffic for the first time in 1965. That year, an illustration of a festival scene was featured on the cover of the Winter Park Telephone Company’s city directory. Local institutions began donating money or sponsoring major awards, including First National Bank of Winter Park, Minute Maid, the Tupperware Company and the Winter Park Telephone Company. Other companies sponsored various category-specific awards. The “is it really art?” question inevitably arose in the ’60s, when crocheting,
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knitting, millinery, clothing and picture frames were prohibited. Painting, of course, was really art, as were crafts such as ceramics, mosaics, pottery, weaving and wood carving. (Decorated eggs were explicitly judged not to be art in 1969 — a decision that didn’t go over easy with the artist seeking to display them.) By 1966 the number of participating artists had mushroomed to 600, and the festival encompassed Park Avenue from Fairbanks Avenue all the way north to Canton Avenue and throughout Central Park. But, as far as outdoor art festivals are concerned, bigger isn’t always better. A consensus emerged that the event had become simply too overwhelming for attendees to enjoy, and it was scaled back to 425 artists the following year. (It was capped at 225 artists in 2009.) The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce sponsored the festival from 1963 through 1966. The City of Winter Park — eager to control what had become the city’s most notable event — created a commission consisting of current volunteers and political appointees to take over festival operations in 1967. Founding member Jean Oliphant’s husband, Frank, was a city commissioner who supported the idea. “Frank told Jean, ‘If you have a brain in your head, you’ll involve the city in your little ladies’ festival,’” recalls Jean Sprimont, a festival board member since 1987.
In 1975, the festival’s Best of Show winner was a photo-realistic drawing of an obviously distraught — and entirely nude — middle-aged woman whom Atlanta artist Glen Eden said was a wallboard hanger at his apartment complex. At the time, works earning Best of Show honors were displayed in City Hall. But officials balked at Wizard of Oz, which Commissioner Byron Villwock described as “the kind of thing you’d hang on your refrigerator door to keep from opening it.” The painting was eventually displayed in the Winter Park Public Library, but mysteriously vanished in 1982.
(This arrangement persisted until 1989, when complications stemming from Florida’s Sunshine Law — which required that all governmental meetings be advertised and open to the public — made planning too ponderous. “We had to be able to talk to one another,” says Carole Moreland, a festival board member since 1978. “Under those circumstances, we couldn’t get anything done.”) In 1969, the festival began the tradition of buying the Best of Showwinning work and donating it to the city. A year later, the “first come, first served” selection process was dropped. Applicants were required to submit three color slides for screening by judges — and competition became fierce. By 1972, some local artists had begun to complain that too many outof-towners were invited to exhibit, while locals — taxpaying citizens, mind you — were excluded. Mayor Dan Hunter, perhaps naively, said he had hoped “to keep politics out of the festival.” Still, he agreed to listen to the aggrieved artists. Ultimately, however, festival jurors were permitted to continue considering only the quality of the artist’s work — not whether the application carried a 32789 zip code — as their primary criteria. “This wasn’t what we call a Sunday painter’s show,” said architect Keith Reeves, who served as a festival chairman in the ’70s and spoke to Winter Park Magazine in 2009. “Everybody felt like that if this show was going to have any merit or recognition that it had to truly be a juried art show — that you just couldn’t be a favorite son and get in.” In the wake of that controversy, painter Sissie Barr led an effort to start a festival that would showcase only Florida artists. The Winter Park Autumn Art Festival debuted 1974 and was sponsored by the now-defunct Winter Park Sun-Herald. By the ’80s, it was co-sponsored by the Crealdé School of Art and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. Now sponsored exclusively by the chamber, the autumn festival was moved from Central Park to the Rollins campus. It was later staged in Island Lake Park and finally found its way back to Central Park, where it has become an October tradition and remains the only juried outdoor festival featuring only Florida artists.
Where's Dorothy? In festival lore, 1975 will always be remembered as the year of the naked lady. Glen Eden, a 24-year-old art school student from Atlanta, won the festival’s Best of Show award and the $1,000 prize it carried with The Wizard of Oz, a photo-realistic ballpoint pen drawing of a rotund middle-aged woman wearing nothing but a shocked expression. The woman, said Eden, was a real person named Dorothy, who was a wallboard installer whom he had met at his apartment complex. Prior to 1978, works that snared Best of Show honors were displayed in City Hall. (Today, the Best of Show Collection hangs in the Winter Park Public Library.) But there was no chance — none whatsoever — that city commissioners were going to display a drawing that showed full-frontal nudity, regardless of the model’s physique. “It’s the kind of thing you’d hang on your refrigerator door to keep from opening it,” as Commissioner Byron Villwock described the work to an Orlando Sentinel reporter in stories headlined, “City Hall Can’t Bare New Portrait” and “‘Best of Show’ Controversy a Matter of Taste This Time.” Because the city wouldn’t give Dorothy a home, Reeves adopted her and displayed Eden’s award-winning work in his own home until the furor died down. The drawing did eventually hang in the library for several years — but mysteriously disappeared in 1982.
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PHOTO BY REUBEN MADRID
Meet four festival icons (left to right): Carolyn Bird, Carole Moreland, Jean Sprimont and Carol Wisler. The longtime volunteers recently gathered at the festival’s small office to share stories about their years in an array of leadership positions. All agree that it’s exciting to help coordinate a successful event, despite the inevitable organizational headaches. But just as rewarding, they say, are the friendships they’ve developed through their involvement.
Oh, you can still see it — sort of. A reproduction of the provocative image can be seen in the library, lurking in an obscure corner on the third floor. It’s faded from exposure to sunlight and much smaller than the poster-sized original. Dorothy’s presence, diminished as it may be, is thanks to Robert Melanson, library director for 25 years until his retirement in 2012. In 1994, he asked Phil Eschbach, owner of Eschbach Photography, to take a picture of a photocopy stored in the library’s archives. He then had the picture framed and hung. “The library was supposed to be the repository of Best of Show winners, and this one wasn’t there,” says Melanson, who never saw the original and had only heard stories about the brouhaha. “I didn’t believe that whoever took it ought to be allowed to censor the collection.” What became of the original remains a mystery, although it has been speculated that someone connected with the city — and therefore someone with access to the library after hours — must have been involved. “Ever since cavemen drew the first animal on the wall, art has created controversy,” wrote the late Elizabeth Bradley Bentley in her lively book, A Side Walk with the Art Festival, published to commemorate the festival’s 20th year. “There is nothing like a good controversy to show how such an important thing as art can still get us all riled up.” Also in 1975, city grant money dried up and the festival was expected to become self-supporting. An emphasis was placed on raising money through application fees for artists, franchise fees for food vendors and the sale of merchandise, such as posters and T-shirts. In 1979, tensions among art festival board members boiled over when the results of an election for executive committee offices — including president and vice president — were disputed.
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About half the group resigned over the turmoil, which saw Bruce Cucuel, then director of drawing and painting at the Crealdé School of Art, unseat previous president Gerry Shepp, then executive director of the Maitland Art Center. Among those who remained to rally the troops: Jean Oliphant, treasurer and founding member whose institutional knowledge proved invaluable as eager newcomers were welcomed to lead the festival into its third decade. The event never missed a beat. Or if it did, artists and spectators never noticed. To commemorate the festival’s 25th year in 1984, the Albin Polasek Foundation gave the city a recast version of the late sculptor’s iconic statue, Emily, to be placed in a circular fountain in north Central Park now called “The Emily Fountain.” The original Emily is on the grounds of the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens on Osceola Avenue. Like Dorothy, Emily is unclothed, although her bare breasts sparked no apparent outrage at the time. The statue was, however, vandalized the following year and recast.
All That Jazz Musical entertainment has always been a part of the festival, but in the early days it consisted primarily of local performers and performing arts troupes. Periodically, the Florida Symphony Orchestra — which went defunct in 1993 — would present a Sunday afternoon concert. But entertainers were forced to perform either on the lawn or from makeshift stages (including, on several occasions, the beds of pickup trucks). In 1980, the symphony threatened to pull out of its Sunday afternoon performance for fear that inclement weather might ruin its instruments. The resourceful Cucuel rented a large parachute and strung it over tree
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branches in the northeast quadrant of the park to provide cover for the musicians. The show went on, but clearly a more permanent solution was needed. Enter the Rotary Club of Winter Park, which in 1982 funded construction of the permanent — and covered — Centennial Performing Arts Stage in north Central Park. (The stage’s seldom-used original name honors the city’s centennial, which was celebrated that year.) In 1983, the stage debuted as the centerpiece for “Friday Family Night,” which featured the Ballet Royal and Family Tree, a local folk trio that had an avid following at Harper’s Tavern, Uncle Waldo’s and other Winter Park venues. In subsequent years, though, the genre was all jazz, with headliners such as Herbie Mann (1986), Dave Brubeck (1987), Al Hirt (1988), Ramsey Lewis (1991), The Rippingtons (1993), Grover Washington Jr. (1997) and Boney James (1998). Entertainment was initially funded by the festival, which recruited such sponsors as Barnett Bank, MetLife HealthCare Network, Pioneer Savings Bank, Sun Banks and the Winter Park Telephone Company. Only once since construction of the stage was there no Friday night concert. In 1989, some previous sponsors — most notably Sun Banks — decided instead to support the newly launched United Arts of Central Florida. United Arts was conceived by Orlando Mayor Bill Frederick as a more cohesive way of helping to fund a consortium of cultural groups that were each chasing the same donors. The festival, however, was not among the initial dozen United Arts beneficiaries. Nonetheless, the event was back the following year with Scottish-born jazz saxophonist Richard Elliot, who had just launched a solo career after a decade with the funk group Tower of Power. Perhaps no performer brought out fans in such huge numbers as vocalist Michael Franks of “Popsicle Toes” fame did in 1994. Franks was such a draw that people overflowed onto the train tracks running parallel to the park. The emphasis on jazz was primarily due to the involvement of WLOQFM, a smooth-jazz radio station owned by the late John Gross, who had been recruited to the festival board because of his entertainment industry expertise. In the early ’90s, WLOQ and Sonny Abelardo Productions assumed responsibility for the entire weekend of entertainment, including the opening-night concert, which had previously been organized by a committee consisting of festival board members. When Southwest Airlines began flying out of Orlando International Airport in 1998, Gross secured a $45,000 entertainment sponsorship from the airline that involved both a presence at the festival and cross-promotion with the radio station. That arrangement would continue for 11 years, solidifying the entertainment budget. It certainly didn’t hurt that the well-connected Abelardo had managed or produced many of the musicians he booked. In 1999, for example, he paired Grammy-winning pianist/composer Bob James, whom he managed, with acoustic guitarist Earl Klugh. The 2012 festival featuring saxophonist Warren Hill was Abelardo’s last, ending a 22-year run that firmly established the event as a showcase for world-class jazz artists. “I did it as a tribute to John [Gross],” Abelardo says of his final contribution to the festival’s legacy. “Sonny had contacts and incredible friendship with these bands,” says Chip Weston, a festival board member before going to work for the City of Winter Park as director of economic and cultural development from 2001-2008. “I wish people had a grasp of how fortunate they were to have had him.” Weston remembers city officials growing concerned that the concerts were drawing too many people. “The city didn’t want the jazz concerts being too popular, because people
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spilled over onto the train tracks,” recalls Weston. “We had to coordinate with other cities to let us know when trains were coming. And we had to stop bands from playing when trains approached. I remember kicking people off the tracks with their bottles of wine and picnic baskets.” Following Gross’ death and the shuttering of WLOQ in 2012, Wayne Osley, president of Oz Media Productions, has run the show, arranging everything from the Friday afternoon opening acts, which feature young upand-comers, to the evening’s main event. (This year’s headliner was Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers.) Osley also organizes the Saturday lineup — which features an eclectic array of primarily local artists — as well as the Sunday afternoon finale. (This year, jazz took a holiday on Sunday when the festival booked the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra for a concert in its Pops Series.) While the closing of the radio station meant smaller sponsorship budgets for procuring talent, Osley says he doesn’t have any problems booking touring jazz musicians whose fans would gladly pay to see them. “Jazz artists are the easiest people to work with,” says Osley, next year’s copresident of the festival executive committee. He says he usually has about $35,000 to work with for the entire weekend — about 15 shows in all. Everyone who performs gets paid, he adds. For Tim Coons, the festival’s weekend of concerts offers an opportunity to introduce young acts who could one day make it big like the boy bands he has worked with in the past. Coons, a 1976 Rollins graduate and president of Orlando-based Cheiron Records, has a knack for bird dogging up-and-coming performers. He was the original producer of the Backstreet Boys and helped develop NSYNC. His most recent contribution to the boy band genre was Far Young. “I was slammed with boy groups for about 10 years,” he says. Coons has been inserting twenty-something singers into the festival’s entertainment lineup since 2014. He brought in Far Young spinoff and former American Idol contestant Eben Franckewitz in 2015 and ’16. This year he booked three aspiring stars with strong social media followings — Saagar Ace, Sydney Rhame and Alani Claire — to perform Friday afternoon. “It’s a great place for young kids to develop in front of a big crowd,” says Coons, whose home near Rollins doubles as a studio. “It’s not like the crowd is there for them. It’s just less pressure. It’s just a very chill event.”
"Like a Jam Sandwich`` Or maybe the real magic of the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival is how chill it appears to artists and visitors, who don’t see the year-round planning sessions and frantic rush in the final weeks to finalize details. “It helps that many of us are close friends,” says Carolyn Bird, a festival board member since 1975. “We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.” Adds Carol Wisler, a festival board member since 1985: “There’s such great camaraderie; we all know funny stories — some we’d like to admit and some we wouldn’t.” Many of those funny stories are in the 20th-anniversary book by Elizabeth Bradley Bentley, who died in 1994. Toward the conclusion, she beautifully captures the spirit of the festival and its volunteers: “As the years went by, my main wish was for health to make the work a pleasure, wealth enough to purchase the art I simply could not live without, faith enough to make myself believe the examples I’d purchased were good (though some did look better hung upside down). And to be needed and wanted to work for the festival. I want to spread it over my face like a kid eating a jam sandwich.”
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M A R K E D UNMARKED REMEMBERED Exhibits explore African American experiences and historic ties that bind Maitland and Eatonville. Scot French – Research and Exhibit Text Randy Noles – Editor
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COURTESY OF THE ART AND HISTORY MUSEUMS – MAITLAND
J. André Smith, founder of the Maitland Art Center — originally called the Research Studio — visited Eatonville in 1935 and recorded what he saw in a series of watercolor sketches. The bottom image shows the township’s St. Lawrence African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church. These and other works by Smith can be seen at the Maitland Art Center’s new exhibition, Maitland and African American Experiences Then & Now: J. André Smith and Jane Turner. A companion exhibition, African American Experiences: Marked, Unmarked, Remembered is just steps away at the Maitland Historical Museum. S PRING 2 0 1 9 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
In 1935 author Zora Neale Hurston returned to Eatonville, where she had spent her childhood, on a WPA-sponsored song-gathering excursion accompanied by folklorists Alan Lomax and Mary Elizabeth Barnicle. Hurston wrote about her memories of Eatonville and neighboring Maitland, most notably in Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) and the autobiographical Dust Tracks on a Road (1942).
frican Americans have lived and worked in Maitland since its founding in the late 19th century, yet their presence is rarely acknowledged in the city’s pictorial displays, roadside markers and civic narratives. Two paired exhibits examine African American life in and around Maitland and neighboring Eatonville — long recognized as one of the first incorporated black towns in the U.S. — beginning with the arrival of pioneering homesteaders and grove workers, many of whom were freed slaves, after the Civil War. The exhibits proceed in time through the Jim Crow era, which persisted through the mid-20th century, and conclude with an African American woman’s unsuccessful run for the Maitland City Council in 2014. Maitland and African American Experiences Then & Now: J. André Smith and Jane Turner is on view at the Maitland Art Center, while Maitland and African American Experiences: Marked, Unmarked, Remembered is on view at the Maitland Historical Museum. Both exhibits run through May 12. The Maitland Art Center and the Maitland Historical Museum are part
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of a five-venue complex known collectively as the Art & History Museums – Maitland. The venues are within easy walking distance of one another, so it’s easy to visit both exhibits in one trip. Which is exactly what you’ll want to do. Taking in both offers a more thorough understanding of the political alliances and informal networks of work, faith and family that blurred racial boundaries and fostered crosscultural alliances within and across Maitland’s borders. J. André Smith and Jane Turner is oriented toward visual art. Researched and curated by Rangsook Yoon, director of experiences at the Art & History Museums – Maitland, it features watercolors, drawings and oil paintings by Smith, who founded the Maitland Art Center — originally called the Research Studio — in the mid-1930s. “The establishment and development of the Maitland Art Center coincided with the Jim Crow era, and its widely institutionalized racism,” notes Yoon. “But a contextual examination of Smith’s works rendering African American communities in Central Florida hasn’t been made before this exhibition.” Also displayed are paintings by Carlson Davenport and H.H. Shaw, both of whom were Smith contemporaries, along with more recent acrylic paintings and sculptures by self-taught artist Jane Turner, a longtime Maitland resident who has a studio in Eatonville. While the works created by Smith, Davenport and Shaw portray images of African Americans from the perspective of outsiders, Turner’s works — often inspired by friends, family and contemporary historical events — offer glimpses of her rich, multifaceted experience as a member of the community. Marked, Unmarked, Remembered, on the other hand, is oriented toward social history. Researched and curated by Scot French, an associate professor of history at the University of Central Florida, it draws upon a range of primary sources — newspapers, interviews, photographs and census records — to tell an inclusive story of race, region and civic identity. The exhibit encompasses Maitland as well as its often-overlooked black neighborhoods, such as Woodbridge near what is now Maitland Community Park and the areas around Lake Jackson, Bellamy Park and the western shore of Lake Sybelia. “For too long, the late 19th century separation of ‘all-black’ Eatonville from ‘all-white’ Maitland has obscured the deep, enduring relationship between the two,” says French, who specializes in the study of cultural landscapes and sites of memory associated with 19th- and 20th-century African American history. French is incorporating his research into a book, “Though the Heavens May Fall:” How Ex-Slaves and Radical Republicans Conspired to Northernize the South, Solve the “Great Race Problem,” and Establish Racial Democracy in Post-Reconstruction Florida. A special treat in Marked, Unmarked, Remembered is a fascinating selection of black-and-white photographs taken during folklorist Zora Neale Hurston’s 1935 visit to Eatonville, where she had lived as a young girl. Hurston was accompanied on the trip by fellow folklorists Alan Lomax and Mary Elizabeth Barnicle on a song-gathering excursion under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The rare documentary images of Eatonville residents at work, rest and
COURTESY OF THE ART AND HISTORY MUSEUMS – MAITLAND
J. André Smith, who began visiting Florida in the early 1930s, eventually bought property for a winter home and studio on Lake Sybelia in Maitland. It is unknown whether or not Smith and Zora Neale Hurston were personally acquainted. But they had mutual connections through Rollins College, and some of Smith’s first Eatonville sketches were made the same year Hurston returned to her girlhood home.
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Marked, Unmarked, Remembered showcases rare documentary photographs of everyday life in Eatonville as it was in the mid-1930s. The photographs, presumably taken by Mary Elizabeth Barnicle, show homes and churches as well as people at work, rest and play.
play — presumably taken by Barnicle — are both intriguing and poignant. Most Central Floridians are well acquainted with Hurston, whose books such as Of Mules and Men (1935), Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934), Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) and the autobiographical Dust Tracks on a Road (1942) are today considered classics of the genre. She also had close ties to Rollins College, where Osgood Grover, professor of books, and Robert Wunsch, drama coach, mentored her and helped her to stage a folk opera called From Sun to Sun at the college in 1932.
COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (LOMAX COLLECTION)
The histories of Maitland and Eatonville, as the dual exhibits demonstrate, are complex and intertwined. An appropriate starting point is the 1870s, when railroad lines pushing southward from Jacksonville and Sanford opened the sparsely populated region to settlement and economic development. Enterprising real estate entrepreneurs targeted wealthy white Northerners who were seeking winter homes and profits from year-round citrus cultivation. The promise of cheap land and steady work drew African Americans to the area as well. In 1872, the unincorporated village of Lake Maitland was officially recognized with a U.S. Post Office. By 1885, when it became an incorporated township, Maitland had undergone a dramatic transformation from a patchwork of struggling rural homesteads to an exclusive winter resort community in which many seasonal residents invested in groves. Maitland’s first African American neighborhoods were formed near the winter “cottages” occupied by well-to-do whites. Some newly arrived black residents took up residence with their white employers; others established shanties along the shore of St. Johns Hole, which was later more daintily dubbed Lake Lily. African American residents envisioned a more permanent and cohesive home for themselves and their families in Maitland, where many also worked. But Joseph E. Clark, an ex-slave from Georgia, recalled unsuccessfully trying to buy land “for the purpose of establishing a colony for colored people” in the late 1870s. “So great was the prejudice then existing against the Negro that no one would sell them land for such a purpose,” wrote Clark. The situation troubled Lewis Lawrence, a white winter resident who was described by Clark as a “whole-souled philanthropist.” Lawrence, a reform-minded industrialist from Utica, New York, discussed the situation with his neighbor, Captain Josiah C. Eaton, a retired Naval officer from Maine. Most white people, Eaton agreed, “wanted their [African American farm] hands to rise up out of the earth in the morning and when their day’s work was done would have them vanish like ghosts out into the thin air.” Lawrence decided to create a subdivision — in effect, a residential labor colony — under his patronage and protection. Working closely with Eaton and Clark and ignoring local opposition, he planned what Clark described as “a village for the colored people in the near vicinity of [Lawrence’s] grove.” Lawrence — who would die in 1886, before Eatonville became a separate township — bought 20 acres of land from Eaton and had it platted into 48 small lots. He built a small wood-frame church — then called simply the
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COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (LOMAX COLLECTION)
One of the primary reasons that Hurston, Lomax and Barnicle visited Eatonville was to gather traditional folk songs. Shown here is Eatonville singer Gabriel Brown, with Rochelle French looking on. This image was restored and colorized by Will Setzer of Design 7 Studios. The black-and-white version is on display at Marked, Unmarked, Remembered.
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When Lewis Lawrence bought 20 acres from Captain Josiah C. Eaton on which to build a community for African Americans, he built a small Methodist Church. The photograph is of the church’s second building, which was erected in 1908 and demolished in 1968. The St. Lawrence African Methodist Episcopalian (A.M.E.) Church, as it is named today, still meets in Eatonville but in a circa-1970s block facility on Kennedy Boulevard.
Methodist Church, today called the St. Lawrence African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church — and showcased a few inexpensive model cottages that could be bought on favorable credit terms. But there was to be no liquor, gambling or other misbehavior in this “negro colony,” in which lots were to be sold “to colored people only.” Eaton, in a sympathetic account of Lawrence’s life, characterized the restrictive clauses — backed by the threat of forfeiture — as an effective means of excluding potential buyers whose disorderly behavior might corrupt the high moral purpose of the settlement, thereby confirming the worst expectations of hostile whites who wanted the enterprise to fail. Taxpaying male residents of Eatonville were eligible to participate as voters in the 1885 incorporation of Maitland. As a result, Hurston writes in Dust Tracks on a Road, two African Americans — Tony Taylor and Joseph Clark — were elected as mayor and town marshal, respectively. However, this era of biracial governance lasted just over a year and may have precipitated the separation of Eatonville from Maitland. Eager for selfgovernance, Clark and others pushed for the incorporation of Eatonville as the first state-chartered “all Negro town.” On August 15, 1887, a group of 27 African American men met at the St. Lawrence Odd Fellows Hall and signed a charter of incorporation for Eatonville, Florida, officially transforming the neighborhood into a “black township.” Hurston portrayed the separation as entirely voluntary and free of coercion. It seems more likely — given prevailing racial attitudes — that the participation of African American voters in Maitland’s municipal elections unnerved white residents and led to discussions of separation as a mutually beneficial solution to the so-called “race problem.” With the incorporation of Eatonville in 1887 and the clearing of African American shanties around Lake Lily, Maitland established itself as a predominantly white township. By the 1920s, Maitland census records show African American homeowners living along the western shore of Lake Sybelia and black neighborhoods, such as Woodbridge, on the northern outskirts of town. African Americans occupied a segregated social world that — by state law and local custom — kept them separate from their white neighbors except for purposes of employment and entertainment. In December 1926, the Maitland News advertised an open-air concert by Eatonville’s Hungerford School Jubilee Singers, who performed “plantation songs and negro spirituals” for appreciative white audiences. Three issues later, a front-page news item cheerfully reported that “members of the Ku Klux Klan celebrated Christmas by distributing Christmas baskets filled with the good things of the season.” Holiday activities — any activities, for that matter — in Eatonville and other black enclaves weren’t mentioned. Fortunately, in the mid-1930s two remarkably sensitive and culturally aware observers — Smith and Hurston — documented scenes of everyday life in Eatonville and neighboring black communities.
A child of American parents, Smith was born in Hong Kong and raised in New York and Connecticut. He attended Cornell University, where he trained as an architect. After working for a time as a draftsman, he served in World War I as a captain in Company A, 40th Regiment of the Corps of Engineers, which was a cadre of camouflage artists and designers. He was also a member of the American Expeditionary Force, one of eight soldier-artists called upon S PRING 2 0 1 9 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (LOMAX COLLECTION)
ANDRÉ, ZORA AND JIM CROW
Winter resident Lewis Lawrence, a reform-minded industrialist from Utica, New York, was disturbed to learn that African Americans were unable to buy land on which to build a community. So he decided to create a subdivision — in effect, a residential labor colony — under his patronage and protection.
to document the war for the U.S. government. Smith, who began visiting Florida in the early 1930s, eventually bought property for a winter home and studio on Lake Sybelia. He formed a close friendship with Annie Russell, a retired stage actress who directed the drama program at Rollins, and designed several sets for productions at the oncampus theater bearing Russell’s name. Disappointed in the region’s lack of support for modern art, Smith made plans for a residential, year-round “Lab-Gallery” that would encourage artistic experimentation in a “monastic” studio environment. With financial support from his patron, philanthropist Mary Louise Curtis Bok, he built the Research Studio and directed it from 1938 until his death in 1959. In designing the complex, Smith drew upon a wide range of cultural and religious influences from around the world — Greco-Roman, Mayan, Aztec, European, African and Asian. He created elaborate reliefs and sculptures from concrete using a method he developed himself. Smith’s conté crayon etchings and watercolors of Eatonville date to 1935; he also made several oil-on-masonite paintings of similar scenes that date to 1940. The circumstances of Smith’s visits to Eatonville are unknown. It’s possible that he was introduced to the area by Hurston, although no record exists of their having met. Still, considering their mutual interests and connections with Rollins, it seems probable that they were personally acquainted. If so, then perhaps Smith accompanied Hurston, Lomax and Barnicle as they were making recordings and taking photographs. You can see Smith’s paintings of Eatonville at J. André Smith and Jane Turner, while the photographs from Hurston’s 1935 visit are on display at Marked, Unmarked, Remembered. Several of the works feature local African American churches and their congregations. Yoon explains in her accompanying gallery texts how Smith’s religious paintings reflect his awareness of African American writers and their concerns with the role of religion in the formation of black identity during and after the Harlem Renaissance.
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The most current aspect of the two exhibits — featured in Marked, Unmarked, Remembered — explores Maitland’s “hidden” African American neighborhoods and features stories and artifacts collected during research for the exhibit. In one excerpted interview, longtime resident Martha Bryant-Hall recalls her childhood in Maitland’s segregated “Medlock Quarters” neighborhood, east of the Eatonville town line. “It was a neighborhood where everyone knew everyone,” she says. “And everyone respected everyone. A close-knit community.” Despite its location within Maitland’s city limits, Medlock Quarters depended upon Eatonville for most of its services. “We were getting water from Eatonville for years,” Bryant-Hall says. “Police were coming from Eatonville. Everything was coming from Eatonville. The only time you went into Maitland was either passing through Maitland or you’d go to the drug store or one of the grocery stores or you worked for someone in Maitland.” Bryant-Hall later purchased property in Woodbridge, and a news story about her fight to extend city services to the area — promised as part of the neighborhood’s annexation by the City of Maitland — accompanies the interview. Campaign signs and literature from Bryant-Hall’s unsuccessful 2014 campaign for Maitland City Council — the first such campaign by an African American since the late 19th century — round out the display. Mark Harmon, CEO of the Art & History Museums – Maitland, says the organization’s effort to document Maitland’s African American history is just beginning. “History is composed of stories of people who have built and made up communities,” he says. “We understand that each individual has their own story to tell. We invite you to bring your stories in the shape of artifacts, images or keepsakes to be put on display in the Maitland Historical Museum so that your past can be told as part of our community history.”
IN BRIEF What: Maitland and African American Experiences Then & Now: J. André Smith and Jane Turner (Maitland Art Center) and Maitland and African American Experiences: Marked, Unmarked, Remembered (Maitland Historical.) Where: Maitland Art Center, 231 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland; Maitland Historical Museum, 221 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland. Notes: The paired exhibitions explore African American
life in Maitland, Eatonville and the surrounding communities. J. André Smith and Jane Turner is curated by Rangsook Yoon, director of experiences at the Art & History Museums — Maitland; Marked, Unmarked, Remembered is curated by Scot French, associate professor of history at the University of Central Florida.
Hours: Both museums are open Thursdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: Adults, $6; seniors (65plus), $5; students (ages 5 to 17), $5; Maitland residents, $5; Maitland seniors and students, $4 For More: Call 407-539-2181 • artandhistory.org
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SPRINGTIME AT THE
CASA THE HISTORIC HOME AND MUSEUM REMAINS FOREVER FASHIONABLE. PHOTOGRAPHY: RAFAEL TONGOL STYLING: MARIANNE ILUNGA | MAKEUP AND HAIR: ELSIE KNAB MODEL: KIMY MINOR FROM MODELSCOUT LOCATION: CASA FELIZ HISTORIC HOME MUSEUM Fashion photography in Winter Park is always challenging. The city boasts so many stunning settings from which to choose that it’s often difficult to prevent the locations from overwhelming the featured clothing and accessories. So, we gave up trying. Our fashion spreads, then, consciously showcase both what to wear and where to wear it. Clearly, the Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum — designed by James Gamble Rogers II — is a place that’s capable of stealing the show. But its rustic majesty also provides such a beautiful backdrop for the latest spring fashions that we couldn’t resist a return visit. The lovingly restored Spanish farmhouse-style structure, once a private home and now a community center and museum, offers free guided tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon.
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Kimy wears a white V-neck knit dress ($168) by PHO, and a pink tweed oversized coat ($298) by Julie Brown, both from The Grove on East Welbourne Avenue. She also wears pink Swarovski crystal ladybug post earrings ($290), two rainbow stone eternity band rings ($89 each) and letter pavé rings ($89 each). All are by Atelier Coralia Leets and from Coralia Leets Jewelry on Park Avenue. The pink patent pumps are the stylist’s own. S PRING 2 0 1 9 W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Kimy wears an ivory tweed jacket ($348) by Generation Love New York and a black-and-white striped shirt ($248) by Trina Turk, both from Tuni on Park Avenue. Her white jeans ($88) by Hidden are from Charily on Park Avenue, while her white cowboy boots ($198) by Matisse, her white fanny pack ($198) by Rebecca Minkoff and her silver clipon earrings ($58) by Yochi are all from Tuni on Park Avenue. The black sunglasses are the stylist’s own.
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Kimy wears silk wide-leg pants ($88) by Lucy Paris, a matching long-sleeve wrap blouse ($78) by Lucy Paris and a pair of yellow suede mules ($72) by Liliana, all from Arabella on Morse Boulevard. Her multicolored coat ($348) by Julie Brown is from The Grove on East Welbourne Avenue. She also wears emerald-green scarab post earrings ($290), a woven turquoise-blue mesh bracelet ($1,290) and a gold woven mesh bracelet ($1,390) as well as Inca-inspired mosaic rings ($159 each). All are by Atelier Coralia Leets and from Coralia Leets on Park Avenue. The head scarf is the stylist’s own.
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Kimy wears a royal blue jumpsuit ($220) by Lavender Brown and from Charily on Park Avenue. She also wears a set of three bangle bracelets ($89 to $489), moonstone clip earrings ($169), a layered gold necklace ($119), an adjustable moonstone ring ($129) and a gold gilded bangle bracelet ($389), all by Atelier Coralia Leets and from Coralia Leets on Park Avenue.
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Kimy wears a sheer lavender ruffle detail blouse ($328) by Diane Von Furstenberg from Tuni on Park Avenue and a pair of black floral shorts ($176) by Lavender Brown and from Charily on Park Avenue. She also wears Inca-inspired rectangular enamel and thread detail earrings ($320), two rainbow color eternity band rings ($89), a diamond star necklace ($159) and a letter ring ($89), all by Atelier Coralia Leets and from Coralia Leets on Park Avenue. The black ankle-strap sandals are the stylist’s own.
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Longtime sushi maven Chau Trinh is tickled pickled-ginger pink for the opportunity to wow hard-to-impress Winter Parkers. Trinh and his partner, Lou Waldman, also own a Sushi Pop in Oviedo.
IT’S BOTH RAW AND REFINED Rare-in-Orlando Japanese fish, flavored inventively, make sleek Sushi Pop ideal for diners who think they’ve tried everything. BY RONA GINDIN PHOTOGRAPHS BY RAFAEL TONGOL
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t’s all about raw fish at the new Sushi Pop restaurant near Park Avenue — but not in quite the way you’d think. Sure, you can order uncooked yellowtail nigiri or sashimi, just as you can at every other sushi spot in town. Yet, I suggest you go bolder. If it’s on the menu during your visit, try the belt fish (tachiuo), served atop seasoned rice bare or with a specially created fennel salsa. The striped bass known as suzuki might be a fun choice, too, served naked or covered lightly with sriracha salt and orange kosho, a citrus-chili blend. The original Sushi Pop, located in Oviedo, opened in 2011 and quickly won kudos from critics and diners alike for its innovative Japanese-fusion menu. And we do mean innovative. The concept’s creative leanings take a turn toward the raw here in town. Longtime sushi maven Chau Trinh owns both Sushi Pops with business partner Lou Waldman. And Trinh is tickled pickled-ginger pink for the opportunity to wow hard-to-impress Winter Parkers. Indeed, well-traveled diners who are open to culinary exploration — like the folks who read this magazine — inspire the on-trend Trinh. That’s why he has turned this sleek and colorful Lyman Avenue eatery into a from-the-sea playground of sorts. For starters, Trinh imports Japanese fish-preparation rules along with the hard-to-source fish. More on those rules — which challenge certain long-held assumptions — in a bit. First, let’s order something. The perfect nigiri (raw fish on rice) or sashimi (raw fish without rice) begins with an ever-changing menu of sometimes-exotic choices. In addition to swimmers from Florida’s coasts and elsewhere — we’re talking New Zealand, Tasmania, you name it — the chefs receive a fish-filled box from Japan twice a week. “What’s inside is always a surprise,” says Trinh. “Our supplier chooses the best quality fish available each time. We open each box, then get our creative juices flowing.” Trinh and his team examine the contents and start brainstorming about accompaniments. A light yet crucial enhancement such as ginger-shallot sauce, or bourbon-maple syrup with chives and smoked salt, might come to mind. Each choice is designed to tease out the natural flavors of the specific kind of fish, Trinh explains. “We scale, fillet, cure and prepare each fish, then design each topping so the fish will really stand out and be tasty,” he says. “Everything we do is to highlight the flavor of the fish.” Wait, did he say “cure?” Yes, he did. In fact, the notion that raw fish should be served just hours after it’s pulled from the water is so American. “The United States is all about having really fresh fish, but in Japan they have a three-day rule,” Trinh says. “The first day you catch it, the second day you let it rest and the third day you prepare it.” That resting time, he adds, alleviates the impact of wayward “adrenaline, hormones and rigor mortis” on the gilled crea-
Japachae-Pop uses potato-starch noodles and galbi secreto pork grilled at up to 800 degrees on a custom-designed gas-charcoal oven. The noodles, fresh vegetables and aged plum sauce — combined with tender pork — creates a rich, rounded dish.
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For an assortment of flavors, order the sashimi “moriawase.” It’s an assortment of raw treats made from what’s fresh in the kitchen during your visit.
tures. In fact, many high-end sushi restaurants are now curing fish for six or seven days. “We’re doing that with some of ours,” notes Trinh. Soon, he says, Sushi Pop will introduce omakase seatings — dinners during which cured and other fish will be featured in multicourse meals created by the chefs. (Omakase is a Japanese phrase that
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means, essentially, “I’ll leave it up to you.”) But if you’re not quite ready to forgo freshness, stick with us. Sushi Pop also offers foods you know and others that provide adventure without straying too far from familiar culinary territory. The “seaweeds” — a blend of three types — was fine. And Sushi Pop offers four types of flavoring
for its edamame — typically nondescript green soybean pods for munching while waiting for the real food to arrive. Here, though, the edamame was nearly destination worthy. The hot beans were plump and vibrant and sprinkled generously with a granular blend of garlic and shichimi pepper — also called
Love Every Moment T H EG L A S SK N I F E .C O M
DINING The edamame (top left) consists of plump and vibrant hot beans sprinkled generously with a granular blend of garlic and shichimi pepper — also called shichimi togarashi. The Rising Sun sushi roll (bottom left) encompasses batteredand-fried tempura green beans, tuna, and spicy mayo with Japanese scallops and orange chili sauce.
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shichimi togarashi. The combo was exciting yet not overwhelming. After that, the next four dishes could be described as follows: Wow, wow and wow. Take the Madai Tasting, for example. Madai is sea bream, here sliced so thin as to be translucent then placed tenderly in a bowl with chips of purple-skin potatoes and slender wedges of Asian pear. A Peruvian-style yellow-pepper sauce called aji amarillo wrapped the fish in a South American hug. Complex layers of taste were achieved through such ingredients as lime juice and lime zest plus myoga ginger, which Trinh describes as “a bud of a flower that tastes like a shallot and ginger had a baby.” The result was a starter that was at once sweet and sour, silky and crunchy, with the tiniest jolt of heat. Japchae-Pop pays homage to a Korean dish that uses potato-starch noodles, Trinh says. All I know is, at my table we battled over wads of galbi secreto pork, which were grilled at up to 800 degrees on a custom-designed gas-charcoal oven. The noodles, fresh vegetables and aged plum sauce — combined with tender pork — creates a rich, rounded dish. Equally satisfying was a soupy/stewy concoction called Goldentile. The namesake fish, steamed and fork-tender, was swimming in a yellow lemongrass-lobster broth laced with sambal chili and dotted with roasted baby carrots, dandelion greens and fresh herbs. I’m a sucker for lemongrass under any circumstances, and here the aromatic veggie was elevated to enchanting. I tried two sushi rolls, too. Rising Sun consisted of battered-and-fried tempura green beans, tuna, and spicy mayo with Japanese scallops and orange chili sauce. For old time’s sake, I also had the ceviche roll. I first tried one at Thornton Park’s Shari Sushi years ago, when Trinh helmed the kitchen there. The restaurant was a chic ground-breaker at the time. While neither roll had me swooning the way the Goldentile, the Japchae-Pop and the Madai Tasting did, sampling the perfectly lovely if not thrilling rice-and-fish rolls led me to engage Trinh in a discussion about rice. As you might imagine, this chef’s sushi rice — which is also used with all nigiri dishes — is made with exceptional thought. Essentially, Sushi Pop’s
Sushi Pop uses many of the same ingredients in its craft cocktails as in its food. The Ninja Chronicles (second from left), for example, is a blend of Kikori Whiskey, Pomelo Oleo (a citrus sweetener) and Xocolatl Mole Bitters with subtle cinnamon, cacao and spice elements.
rice begins with Koshihikari premium sushi rice. “In Japan,” Trinh says, “a lot of great sushiya (sushi chefs) use red rice vinegar, which colors the rice a sort of burgundy. It’s really strong and really pungent. It’s fantastic with mackerel and oilier fish that can stand up to that type of flavor.” Trinh mixes two different types of vinegar: red rice vinegar and white rice vinegar, which he pours over the hot rice as soon as it comes out of the pot. Then he adds a bit of kombu, which is cured kelp, plus salt and sugar. “The rice is a little bit salty and a little bit sweet,” he says. How can you not want to try that now that you know so much about it? As of press time, the only dessert on the Sushi Pop menu is the P.M.S., a molten chocolate cake with peanut-butter powder served with salted-caramel ice cream. Personally, it’s enough for me. But be aware that variety is on the way. As for beverages, Sushi Pop uses many of the same ingredients in its craft cocktails as in its food
— and these spirited sippers are designed to complement the dishes Trinh prepares. The Ninja Chronicles, for example, was simple but perfect with my meal. It’s a blend of Kikori Whiskey, Pomelo Oleo (a citrus sweetener) and Xocolatl Mole Bitters, with subtle cinnamon, cacao and spice elements. Don’t ask too many questions — trust the Sushi Pop team to do right by you behind the bar. The setting for all these well-contemplated Asian flavors is a dining room that features bright pink and yellow hues together with gray and black. It’s a cheerful environment for dinner. (In March the restaurant began opening for lunch, calling itself ChauHaus and serving Vietnamese specialties.) The Winter Park location is more refined than its Oviedo counterpart, with no anime decorating the walls. The dining room is open with the sushi bar in middle. Artfully blurred wallpaper and banquette coverings add a touch of whimsy. Sushi Pop was so new during my visit that it
hadn’t yet had its grand opening. But everything ran exceptionally well for a project-in-progress. Hopefully the service team will decide to plunk down a stack of small plates when groups share — or at least give each person one large dinner plate. Also, it would serve Sushi Pop well to be less pretentious with the written menu. Each offering should be described in plain language rather than Asian foodie-speak. Example: the tachiuo dish was described like this: sanbaizu, kombu, cucumber, shiso, myoga, momiji, oboshi.” The only one I’m sure about is cucumber. Those issues are small purple potatoes and easily fixable as the new Sushi Pop matures. So I strongly suggest that you stop in. Even if you think you’ve tried it all, Trinh may surprise you with some tasty new tricks. SUSHI POP 115 East Lyman Avenue, Winter Park 321-203-2282 • sushipoprestaurant.com S PRING 2 0 1 9 W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Hill Gray Seven LLC recently threw a grand opening celebration to show off Park Hill, its upscale townhome project on North Park Avenue. The 10 townhomes were completed late last year on a site where a circa-1960s apartment complex had stood. With a location that can never be duplicated, Park Hill offers perhaps the last opportunity to own a new home in the heart of Winter Parkâ€™s world-famous shopping and dining district. Guests were dazzled by the classically styled homes, which range in size from 3,300 to 4,300 square feet with covered rooftop terraces.
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Park Hill sweet treats
Damon Hack, Greg Lawrence
David Matsko, Antonietta Matsko
Liz Roehlk, Drew Hill, Gregg Hill, Tom Roehlk
Julie Williams, Lisa Lawrence
Jason Tisdell, Carrie Tisdell, Gregg Hill, Drew Hill
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Gregg Hill, Caitlin Mitchell, James Mitchell
Sabrina Marks, Samantha Marks
Drew Hill, David Matsko
Arthur Evans, Beverly Evans, Gregg Hill
Drew Hill, Randall Slocum, Gregg Hill, Turner Beggs
Sherry Hornsby, Linda Boesel, Sandra Chitty, Cathy Sawruk
Tom Roehlk, Liz Roehlk, Drew Hill
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EVENTS ART, HISTORY, ENTERTAINMENT AND MORE
Corralling Cowboy Culture well as museum founder Albin Polasek, who was captivated by the American frontier,” says curator Rachel Frisby. “We hope people will share our enthusiasm and interest in the work by Florida cowboy artists and their cultural legacy.” Founded in 1961, the Polasek preserves the 200-plus-piece collection of world-renowned CzechAmerican sculptor Albin Polasek (1871-1965). The museum, once Polasek’s home and studio, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lushly landscaped grounds also encompass the renovated 1885 Capen House, which was saved from demolition, floated across Lake Osceola and renovated for use as offices and an events space in 2015. Museum members are admitted free. For nonmembers it’s $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (age 60 or older), $8 for college students and $3 for kindergartners through 12th graders. For more information call 407-647-6294 or visit polasek.org. The compound, which overlooks Lake Osceola, is located at 633 Osceola Avenue. — Randy Noles
IN BRIEF What: Lay of the Land: The Art of Florida’s Cattle Culture Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Memo to Willie and Waylon: Despite the best efforts of concerned mamas, plenty of babies did grow up to be cowboys. And many of them were — and are — in Florida. See for yourself at Lay of the Land: The Art of Florida’s Cattle Culture at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. But you’ll have to go at a gallop to get there, since the exhibition, presented in collaboration with the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, rides off into the sunset on Sunday, April 14. But first there’ll be a hoedown — well, a reception — on Friday, April 12, featuring entertainment by poets who’ve participated in the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, sponsored by the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada. Doors open at 6 p.m. with poetry readings begin-
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ning at 7 p.m. Admission to the event is free, but an RSVP is required. Onsite parking is $5, and there’ll be a cash bar. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make your reservations. Lay of the Land features art and objects representing the state’s 500-year-old cattle industry. A broad range of items are on display, from handmade functional objects like saddles, whips, chaps and spurs to fine-art photography, sketches, paintings and sculpture. The exhibition conveys the excitement of rodeos and cattle drives and the unspoiled beauty of Florida’s native scrub land where cattle graze. Everything is on loan from members of the Cowboy Artist’s Association of Florida, cowboy craftsmen, private collectors and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. “Lay of the Land honors the Florida pioneers as
Where: Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, 633 Osceola Avenue Notes: The exhibition runs through Sunday, April 14. But you won’t want to miss a closing reception featuring readings by acclaimed cowboy poets on Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m. Admission to the reception is free, but reservations are required. Email RSVPs to email@example.com. Admission: Adults, $10; seniors (60-plus), $8; college students with ID, $8; students (kindergarten through 12th grade), $3 Hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m.; closed Mondays For More: 407-647-6294 • polasek.org
The works of cowboy artists depict life on the Florida frontier. On display at the Polasek are Allegory of Work by Sean Sexton (facing page); Brahmans by Hobby Campbell (above); and Riding Out Pairs by Eldon Lux (below).
A glazed clay vase made in 1882 by Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati is among more than 100 art pottery pieces on display at the Morse. S PRING 2 0 1 9 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
EVENTS VISUAL ARTS
11th Annual Winter Park Paint-Out. The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens will host the eleventh annual Winter Park Paint-Out from April 21 to 27. Admission to the museum, sculpture gardens and gallery will be free to the public during the weeklong event. Twenty-five professionally acclaimed plein air artists will paint at the museum and locations throughout the city, with everyone invited to watch the artists work, view their recently completed paintings in the “wet gallery” and attend free demonstrations. A ticketed garden party will be held at the museum on April 27 from 6 to 9 p.m., where guests can meet the artists, see the entire exhibition of more than 200 paintings and — artists, in particular, love this part — purchase your favorite pieces. 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park. 407-6476294. winterparkpaintout.com. Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. This lakeside museum, open since 1961, is dedicated to preserving the works of the famed Czech sculptor for whom it was both home and studio for more than a decade. Closing April 14 is Lay of the Land: The Art of Florida’s Cattle Culture, a collaboration with the Florida Cattlemen’s Association that showcases five centuries of art by cowboys, crackers and Native Americans. A farewell reception, slated for April 12 from 6 to 9 p.m., will feature readings by acclaimed cowboy poets. (For more, see page 86.) The museum offers tours of Polasek’s home Tuesdays through Saturdays. And it offers tours of the adjacent Capen-Showalter House three times weekly: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m., and Saturdays at 10:15 a.m. The Capen-Showalter House, built in 1885, was saved from demolition several years ago and floated across Lake Osceola to its current location on the Polasek’s grounds. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park. 407-647-6294. polasek.org. Art & History Museums — Maitland. The Maitland Art Center, one of five museums anchoring the city’s Cultural Corridor, was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect J. André Smith. The center, located at 231 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, is the Orlando area’s only National Historic Landmark and one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast. Continuing through May 12 are two related exhibitions in two venues: Maitland and African-American Experiences Then & Now: J. André Smith and Jane Turner at the Maitland Art Center and Maitland and African-American Experiences: Marked, Unmarked, Remembered at the Maitland Historical Museum & Telephone Museum. Both run through May 12. (For more, see page 58.) On display from June 2 through September 11 is Pressed Editions: Experimental Contemporary Prints, which showcases works by Central Florida printmakers, including prints made with experimental processes of traditional techniques and unconventional
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handling of materials. J. André Smith’s printing press and some of his etching plates will be also on view. Admission to the art center’s galleries is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students (ages 5 to 17) and free for children age 4 and under. Maitland residents receive a $1 discount. The Cultural Corridor also includes the Carpentry Shop Museum, located with the Waterhouse Residence at 820 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland. 407-539-2181. artandhistory.org. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. With more than 19,000 square feet of gallery and public space, the Morse houses the world’s most important collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass and an entire chapel interior originally designed and built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Ongoing through September 2020 is a major exhibition, Earth into Art — The Flowering of American Art Pottery. The displayed objects, which date from the 1870s to the early 1900s, are drawn from the museum’s collection of American art pottery — one of the largest such collections in the U.S. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than age 12. On Fridays through April 26, gallery admission is free from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., with live music starting at 5 p.m. Admission is also free throughout Easter weekend (April 19 to 23). 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org. Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Located on the campus of Rollins College, the Cornell houses one of the oldest and most eclectic collections of fine art in Florida. Free tours take place at 1 p.m. on Saturdays at the on-campus facility, and at 1 p.m. on Sundays at the nearby Alfond Inn, which displays dozens of works from the museum’s Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art. Happy Hour tours of the Alfond Collection are also conducted on the first Wednesday of most months at 5:30 p.m. If you prefer historic works, Throwback Thursday tours are offered at the museum from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of most months. Opening May 23 is Mexican Modernity: 20th-Century Paintings from the Zapanta Collection, a study of Mexico’s cultural landscape. The earliest works reflect Mexico’s indigenous past and draw inspiration from tradition, while later pieces document its evolution from agrarian to industrial with a focus on the country’s global role. Mexican Modernity closes September 8. Continuing through May 12 are two exhibitions: De La Torre Brothers: Rococolab, the collaborative work of artists-brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre, whose complex baroque-inspired sculptures and “lenticulars” — those accordion-pleated pictures that show different images when viewed from the left or the right — are a reflection of their bicultural experience living in Mexico and Southern California; and The Place as Metaphor: Collection Conversations, works from the permanent collection that illustrate the notion of “place” in its varied definitions, from geographic locations to historical moments. Ruptures and Remnants: Selections from
the Permanent Collection offers material manifestations, from antiquity to the present day, of ruptures ranging from personal crises to nation-state upheavals. Works periodically rotate through this long-term exhibition, which continues through December 31, 2020. Admission is free, courtesy of PNC Financial Services Group. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2526. rollins.edu/cfam. Crealdé School of Art. Established in 1975, this not-for-profit arts organization on Winter Park’s east side offers year-round visual-arts classes for all ages taught by more than 40 working artists. Admission to the school’s galleries is free, although there are fees for art classes. Ongoing through April 27 is Hand in Hand: The Creative Works of Janvier Miller and Gustaf Miller, which spotlights the duo’s most recent paintings, sculptures and ceramics. And through May 18 is Keepers of Heritage: Puerto Rican Artists in Central Florida, an exhibition of works by a collective of contemporary artists honoring their cultural roots. 600 Saint Andrews Boulevard, Winter Park. 407-671-1886. crealde.org. Hannibal Square Heritage Center. Established in 2007 by the Crealdé School of Art in partnership with residents of Hannibal Square and the City of Winter Park, the center celebrates the city’s historically African-American west side with archival photographs, original artwork and oral histories from longtime residents that are together known as the Heritage Collection. Admission is free. An ongoing exhibition, the Hannibal Square Timeline, documents significant local and national events in African-American history since the Emancipation Proclamation. The center offers a walking tour of Hannibal Square, Now and Then, with Fairolyn Livingston, the center’s chief historian. The tour, offered the third Saturday of each month from 10 to 11:30 a.m., requires reservations; the cost is $10, or $5 for those with student IDs. Historic sites include Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, the Welbourne Avenue Nursery & Kindergarten and the Masonic Lodge, all built in the 1920s. 642 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-539-2680. hannibalsquareheritagecenter.org.
Annie Russell Theatre. “The Annie,” in continuous operation on the campus of Rollins College since 1932, concludes its 2018-19 season with Neil Simon’s Sweet Charity, the story of a hopelessly romantic but comically unfortunate dance-hall hostess in New York City. The groovy ’60s score includes “Big Spender” and “If My Friends Could See Me Now.” Curtain time for the show, which runs for eight performances from April 19 through 27, is 8 p.m., 4 p.m. or 2 p.m., depending upon the day of the week. Tickets are $20. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2145. rollins.edu/annie-russell-theatre. Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, not-for-profit theater continues its 2018-19 mainstage season with the musical What a Glorious
Less Scarring, Faster Recovery By Enrique Vega, MD
TIFFANY at the MORSE The Morse Museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Public Hours: 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m.,Tuesday–Saturday (open Fridays until 8 p.m., November–April); 1 p.m.–4 p.m., Sunday; closed Monday
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445 north park avenue winter park, florida 32789 (407) 645-5311 just a 5-minute walk from the sunrail station.
General Surgeon, AdventHealth Medical Group
dvancing medicine using the most innovative surgical procedures is at the heart of AdventHealth’s surgical programs. In fact, some of the cutting-edge techniques we use — and develop — involve no cutting whatsoever. Many surgeries once performed “the oldfashioned way,” with open incisions requiring lengthy recovery time and considerable pain, can now be done using minimally invasive robotic and laparoscopic procedures. Both have benefits of smaller incisions — less than one inch! — and result in minimal side effects, reduced healing time, less scarring and more precise surgery. It is estimated that hernias affect more than 5 percent of the population in the U.S. Traditional “open” hernia surgery required a long incision in the groin. During a laparoscopic hernia repair, a surgeon inserts a thin scope with a tiny camera through a few small incisions in the abdomen. The hernia can be repaired using special instruments that are inserted through this scope. Patients requiring removal of the appendix or gallbladder have also greatly benefited from advances in laparoscopic surgery, experiencing far less scarring than open procedures, and less pain afterward. Robotic surgery using the da Vinci® surgical system has revolutionized complex surgery for many cancers, including prostate, gynecologic (ovarian, uterine and vulvar), stomach, pancreas, liver and colon. Using the robot allows surgeons much more precision and control in their movements as well as highly enhanced visualization. As a result, patients have faster recoveries, reduced risk of infection and reduced trauma. It’s not enough to perform a procedure — a patient’s comfortable recovery and return to health is an essential part of the surgical plan. To learn more about minimally invasive surgery for a variety of procedures, visit AHCentralFloridaSurgery.com. Enrique Vega, MD, is a board-certified general surgeon specializing in gastrointestinal, breast and skin cancers as well as thyroid, parathyroid and hernia repair surgeries. For information, call 407-646-7931 or visit AHCentralFloridaSurgery.com.
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EVENTS Feeling – The Story of Singin’ in the Rain, which closes April 13 and tells the little-known story of a love triangle behind the scenes of the iconic film. Next up is Heartbeats, which runs May 10 through 19 and May 30 through June 9. Making its Central Florida premiere, the contemporary musical follows a woman’s journey toward self-discovery as she nears her 40th birthday and 20th wedding anniversary. The Amanda McBroom score features “The Rose,” which was a hit for everyone from Bette Midler to Conway Twitty. Performances of both shows are Thursdays through Sundays, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets range in price from $15 for students to $42 for evening shows. Meanwhile, the theater’s Spotlight Cabaret Series continues with performances by Marina Jurica on April 24 and 25. General admission is $20 plus a one-drink minimum (with $10 standing-room-only tickets available once general seating is sold out). 711 Orange Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-0145. winterparkplayhouse.org.
Florida Film Festival. Now in its 28th year, this Oscar-qualifying event draws about 180 independent feature films, documentaries, shorts and animated movies from across the U.S. and worldwide. The 10-day extravaganza will take place April 12 to 21, primarily on the grounds of the Enzian, a singlescreen art-film house nestled in a three-acre, oakshaded Maitland enclave with an outdoor restaurant and bar. (Some films will be shown at the Regal Cinemas megaplex in Winter Park Village.) Both single tickets and packages for festival events are available. 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-6291088. floridafilmfestival.com. Hannibal Square Heritage Center Folk & Urban Art Festival. This annual festival, now in its 10th year, celebrates culture and diversity through art and music. More than 25 Florida artists will offer their works for sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 27. The event includes live music, arts-and-crafts demonstrations, a soul-food truck and a Puerto Rican vejigante mask-making workshop for children that culminates in a public parade. Admission is free. 642 West New England Avenue. hannibalsquareheritagecenter.org.
Enzian. This cozy, nonprofit alternative cinema offers a plethora of film series. Tickets are usually $12 for regular admission; $10 for matinees, students, seniors and military (with ID); and $9.50 for Enzian Film Society members. But children under age 12 are admitted free to Peanut Butter Matinee Family Films, shown the fourth Sunday of each month at noon. Coming up are Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (April 24), Time Bandits (May 26) and Mrs. Doubtfire (June 30). Saturday Matinee Classics, shown the second Saturday of each month at noon, will include Tokyo Story (May 11) and All About Eve (June 8). Cult Classics, shown the second and last Tuesday of each month at 9:30 p.m., has Fight Club (April 9) on deck. FilmSlam, which
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spotlights Florida-made short films, takes place most months on the first or second Sunday at 1 p.m.; the next scheduled dates are May 5 and June 9. Other series include Music Mondays, presenting music documentaries and filmed concerts, and Midnight Movies, which features envelope-pushing classics and cutting-edge new releases. Other special screenings will be held on Easter Sunday (along with an Easter egg hunt and delicious buffet luncheon), as well as on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day (paired with brunch and barbecue, respectively). 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-6290054 (information line), 407-629-1088 (theater offices). enzian.org. Friday Brown Bag Matinees. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art presents three film series each year on topics related to the museum’s collection and art in general. Admission is free to these lunchtime screenings, which span the noon hour on select Fridays in the Jeannette G. and Hugh F. McKean Pavilion on Canton Avenue, just behind the Morse. Attendees are invited to bring their own lunches; the museum provides soft drinks and themed refreshments. The four-part Spring Series, Northern European Art, explores the lives and works of artists from Belgium and the Netherlands in the 19th and 20th centuries. It kicks off April 5 with High Art of the Low Countries: Daydreams and Nightmares, a documentary that explores the psychology and social history of the region, which despite its small size produced some of the era’s most important and innovative artists. Three of the greatest will be profiled in the weeks to come with the documentaries Van Gogh: Painted with Words (April 12), In Mondrian’s Studio (April 19) and René Magritte: The Man in the Hat (April 26). 161 West Canton Avenue. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org. Popcorn Flicks in the Park. The City of Winter Park and Enzian collaborate to offer classic, familyfriendly films free in Central Park on Park Avenue. These outdoor screenings are on the second Thursday of each month and start at 8 p.m. Upcoming films include Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (April 11), Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (May 9) and Apollo 13 (June 13). Bring a snack plus a blanket or chairs. 407-629-1088. enzian.org. Screen on the Green. The City of Maitland offers free outdoor movies each fall and spring on the field at Maitland Middle School. Bring a snack plus a blanket or chairs. 1901 Choctaw Trail, Maitland. 407539-0042. itsmymaitland.org.
Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. This stunningly restored Spanish farmhouse-style home, designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II, is now a community center and museum. Free open houses are hosted by docents on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Also, live music is featured in the large downstairs parlor most Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. (see “Music”). 656 North Park Avenue
(adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us. Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida. The center is dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice, with the goal of developing a moral and just community through educational and cultural programs. It houses permanent and temporary exhibitions, archives and a research library. The museum’s ongoing exhibition, Tribute to the Holocaust, is a presentation of artifacts, videos, text, photographs and other works of art. Admission to the center is free. 851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland. 407-628-0555. holocaustedu.org. Winter Park History Museum. Ongoing displays include artifacts dating from the city’s beginnings as a New England-style resort in the 1880s. Its current exhibition is Wish You Were Here: The Hotels & Motels of Winter Park, which will run through June 6, 2020. (For more, see page 14.) Admission is free. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407644-2330. wphistory.org. Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. Eatonville is strongly associated with Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, who lived there as a girl and recorded her childhood memories in her classic autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. The museum that bears her name provides information about the historic city and sponsors exhibitions featuring the works of African-American artists and is an integral part of the annual, weeklong Zora! Festival each January. The current exhibition is Zora Neale Hurston’s “Native Village:” Historic Eatonville Remembered – Autobiography, Folklore, Literature. Admission is free, though group tours require a reservation and are charged a fee. 227 East Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville. 407-647-3188. preserveeatonville.org, zorafestival.org, hurstonmuseum.org.
65th Annual Winter Park Easter Egg Hunt. A Winter Park tradition dating back to President Eisenhower’s first term in office, the hunt is held the day before Easter — this year, that’s Saturday, April 20. More than 10,000 eggs are hidden in north Central Park, where several hundred children usually show up to try and find them. (Participants are asked to bring their own baskets.) The fun begins at 10 a.m., with kids age 10 and under allowed to begin lining up at 9:30 a.m. Children with special needs are encouraged to participate. As always, every child will leave with an Easter egg. New this year is an “Easter Kids Zone,” which will open when the egg hunt concludes. Corner of New York Avenue and Morse Boulevard. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org. Earth Day in the Park. This free, fun-filled event in Hannibal Square’s Shady Park features a kids’ zone with games, tie-dye T-shirts, do-it-yourself art with help from the Crealdé School of Art staffers, a “quick draw” art competition organized by the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, live music all day, child and adult yoga (bring a mat) and com-
The 11th Annual
â€œFlutter Flight,â€? Michelle Held
april 21-27, 2019 winterparkpaintout.org
EVENTS posting and recycling education. Of course, there’ll be food and beverage vendors. The April 13 event (one week before the official Earth Day) starts at 11 a.m., but registration for the “quick draw” competition begins at 9 a.m. for a 10 a.m. start. Certified arborists from Winter Park’s Urban Forestry Division will give away young trees in one-gallon containers for city residents to plant at home. Pennsylvania Avenue at New England Avenue. 407-599-3364. cityofwinterpark.org/earthday. Memorial Day Service. The ceremony in Winter Park’s Glen Haven Memorial Park cemetery usually includes an honor guard, music and a guest speaker. May 27 at 11 a.m. Admission is free. 2300 Temple Drive. 407-647-1100. cityofwinterpark.org.
Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. Each year, the institute presents lectures, readings and seminars by thought leaders in an array of disciplines. The final lecture of the 2018-19 season, on April 11, features preeminent global conservation scientist Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International and a member of the National Geographic Society’s Explorer Council. His program, Stories from the Natural World, starts at 7:30 p.m. in Bush Auditorium. Tickets are $25. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407646-2145. rollins.edu/wpitickets. University Club of Winter Park. Nestled among the oaks and palms at the north end of Park Avenue’s downtown shopping district — a block beyond Casa Feliz — is another historic James Gamble Rogers II building, this one home to the University Club of Winter Park. Members are dedicated to the enjoyment of intellectual activities and socializing with one another. The club’s various activities, including lectures, are open to the public, although nonmembers are asked to donate a $5 activity fee each time they attend. (Some events include a buffet lunch for an added fee.) Check the club’s website for the next lecture or special event. 841 North Park Avenue. 407-644-6149. uclubwp.org.
200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. cityofwinterpark.org.
Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. The society’s 2018-19 season begins winding down April 14 when the society hosts acclaimed pianist Richard Goode in Tiedtke Concert Hall on the Rollins College campus. The program, which starts at 7:30 p.m., will feature works by Haydn, Beethoven and Chopin. The season closes April 27 and 28 with the final installment of the society’s Choral Masterworks series, Power of Romanticism and Resurrection. With music from the French romantic period, the concert includes Seven Last Words of Christ by Théodore Dubois, Sanctus by Charles Gounod and Psalm 150 by César Franck. Performances are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday in Knowles Memorial Chapel, also on the Rollins campus. Tickets range in price from $25 to $99. 1000 Holt Avenue. 407-646-2182. bachfestivalflorida.org. Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts. This eclectic venue is part concert hall, part recording studio and part art gallery. It offers live performances most evenings, with an emphasis on jazz, classical and world music — although theater, dance and spokenword presentations are sometimes on the schedule. Admission generally ranges from free to $25. Just a few of the upcoming performers are: The Steve Luciano Trio (April 18, 8 p.m.), Alexis Cole (May 18, 8 p.m.) and Chris Cortez and Bobby Koelble (June 25, 8 p.m.). 1905 Kentucky Avenue, Winter Park. 407-636-9951. bluebambooartcenter.com. Central Florida Folk. This Winter Park-based notfor-profit is dedicated to promoting and preserving live folk music, primarily through concerts usually held on the last Sunday of each month (unless a holiday intervenes). The group’s primary venue is the Winter Park Public Library, 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. Upcoming concerts are: Bernice Lewis plus Laura Rabell (April 28), 2 p.m. plus Mike Worrall (May 19) and Michael Reno Harrell (June 30). Performances start at 2 p.m. A donation of $15 for nonmembers is suggested. 407-679-6426. cffolk.org.
Maitland Farmers’ Market. This year-round, openair market — held each Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — features fresh produce, seafood, breads and cheeses as well as plants, all-natural skin-care products and live music by Performing Arts of Maitland. The setting on Lake Lily boasts a boardwalk, jogging trails, a playground and picnic areas. 701 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland. itsmymaitland.com.
Dexter’s of Winter Park. This well-known restaurant in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square district occasionally has live musical acts with no cover charge. Upcoming performances include Midnight Mayhem (April 5, 8:45 p.m.), Eden Lane (April 6, 8:30 p.m.) and Thomas Wynn (April 9 and 16, 6 p.m.). 558 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407629-1150. dextersorlando.com.
Winter Park Farmers’ Market. The region’s busiest and arguably most popular farmers’ market is held every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the old railroad depot, which also houses the Winter Park History Museum. The open-air market offers baked goods, produce, plants, honey, cheese, meat, flowers, crafts and other specialty items. After shopping, make a morning of it with a stroll along nearby Park Avenue. Dogs are welcome to bring their people.
Get Your Jazz On. The Alfond Inn continues its concert series on April 26 with live jazz under the stars that includes not only music but roasted pig (and a vegetarian alternative), wine, beer, seasonal cocktails and even cigars. The outdoor event (which moves indoors if it rains) runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 in advance, with valet parking included. Alfond Inn, 300 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-998-8090. thealfondinn.com.
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Music at the Casa. The Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum presents free acoustic performances most Sunday afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. in the museum’s cozy main parlor. Upcoming performances include: violinist Amy Xaychaleune (April 7), Aleksandra Vargas (April 14), saxophonist Matt Festa (April 28), selections by Beautiful Music (May 5), guitarist Alejandro Rowinsky (May 12), harpist Victoria Schultz (May 19), violinist Lisa Ferrigno (June 2) and flamenco dancers Ernesto and Jenny Caballero (June 9). 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407628-8200. casafeliz.us. Opera Orlando on the Town. Experience an immersive re-telling of the story of Noah’s Ark through incredible singing, exciting orchestration and stunning pageantry. Opera Orlando’s Youth Company stars in this production of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde, based upon the “miracle” plays of 15th-century England. Performances are May 18 and 19 (7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively) at St. John Lutheran Church. Tickets are $25.75 for adults; $10.30 for youths. 1600 Orlando Avenue, Winter Park. 407-512-1900. operaorlando.org.
18th Annual Dinner on the Avenue. The city supplies the tables, chairs, white linen tablecloths and, of course, the outdoor setting while you and your friends, family or co-workers supply fellowship and clever conversation while dining in the middle of closed-off Park Avenue opposite Central Park. The annual event is also a friendly competition, with awards for table decorations in such categories as “Most Colorful,” “Most Elegant” and “Most Original.” This year’s April 6 event, already sold out at $125 a table, is from 6 to 10 p.m. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org. 34th Annual Taste of Winter Park. Sample all the best food that Winter Park has to offer on April 17 from 5 to 8 p.m. More than 40 of Central Florida’s top chefs, caterers, bakers, brewers, vintners and confectioners bring their best noshes and beverages to “Winter Park’s ultimate foodie festival.” Tickets range in price from $50 to $65. Winter Park Farmers’ Market, 200 West New England Avenue. 407-5993580. winterpark.org/taste-of-winter-park. Wine at Nine. Raise a glass on National Wine Day (more commonly known as May 25), when the Winter Park Golf Course and Parks Department team up to host this fun-filled new event. From 3 to 6 p.m., try a different type of wine at each hole along the course and munch on perfectly paired snacks. Check the city’s website for ticket prices and more information. Winter Park Golf Course, 761 Old England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-599-3342. cityofwinterpark.org.
Winter Park Garden Club. Since its founding in 1922, the club’s general membership meetings always offer something intriguing for lovers of gardening
and the great outdoors. Its April 10 meeting, which starts at 10 a.m., is a fun and informative Environmental Trivia Game led by Mary Dipboye, whoâ€™ll preside over the game and discuss current environmental issues and legislation. Admission is free. On April 11, also at 10 a.m., the club hosts a Fun with Flowers Workshop, during which attendees will create spring flower arrangements. Cost is $25; everything is supplied â€” but bring your own clippers. On April 18, the club will host a walking tour of the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Cost is $13, or $12 for those age 60-plus. Finally, the clubâ€™s annual luncheon is set for May 9 at 11 a.m. at Interlachen Country Club. Cost is $25. All other events are at the clubâ€™s headquarters at 1300 South Denning Drive. 407-6445770. winterparkgardenclub.com.
Florida Writers Association. The Orlando/Winter Park-Area Chapter meets the first Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for guest speakers and discussions organized by author Rik Feeney. Upcoming events are slated for April 3, May 1 and June 5 at the University Club of Winter Park, 841 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. Another chapter, the Maitland Writers Group, meets the second Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for speakers and discussions organized by author Nylda Dieppa-Aldarondo. Upcoming events are slated for April 11, May 9 and June 13 at the Maitland Public Library. 501 South Maitland Avenue, Maitland. floridawriters.net. Wednesday Open Words. One of the areaâ€™s longest-running open-mic poetry nights happens every Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Austinâ€™s Coffee, 929 West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park. The free readings are hosted by Curtis Meyer. 407-975-3364. austinscoffee.com. Work in Progress: A Group for Writers. This monthly discussion group is for writers in any genre who offer and receive feedback from their peers. Guest speakers are often invited to monthly meetings, which are held from September through May. Upcoming dates include April 13 and May 4, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Those planning to read their works aloud should register with organizer and host Gerald Schiffhorst, a University of Central Florida professor emeritus of English, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Conference Room, Winter Park Public Library, 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. wppl.org. Writers of Central Florida or Thereabouts. This group offers various free programs that attract writers of all stripes. Short Attention Span Storytelling Hour ... or Thereabouts, a literary open-mic night, meets the second Wednesday of most months at 7 p.m. at Stardust Video & Coffee; itâ€™s for authors, poets, filmmakers, comedians, musicians, bloggers and others. Upcoming meet-ups include April 10, May 8 and June 12. 1842 Winter Park Road, Winter Park. Orlando WordLab, a new program that combines the old Writers Roundtable and So You Think You Can Funny?, meets the fourth
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EVENTS Wednesday of each month at the Winter Park Public Library starting at 7 p.m.; upcoming dates include April 24, May 22 and June 26. 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. stardustvideoandcoffee.wordpress.com, wppl.org, meetup.com/writers-of-central-florida-orthereabouts.
Good Morning Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings attract business- and civic-minded locals who enjoy coffee and conversation about community issues. Scheduled for the second Friday of most months, upcoming dates include April 12, May 10 and June 14. Networking begins at 8 a.m. followed by a 45-minute program at 8:30 a.m. Admission, which includes a complimentary continental breakfast, is free. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Hot Seat Academy. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, this quarterly businessoriented series puts local executives in the spotlight as they offer advice and discuss entrepreneurism, leadership and sales-and-marketing techniques. The next scheduled gathering is May 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; check the chamber website for the featured speaker. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for nonmembers. Reservations are required. Winter
Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Winter Park Executive Women. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these gatherings — held the first Monday of most months from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — feature guest speakers and provide networking opportunities for women business owners. Topics revolve around leadership development, business growth and local initiatives of special interest to women. Upcoming dates include April 1, May 6 and June 3. Tickets, which include lunch, are $25 for members and $50 for nonmembers. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org.
Baby Owl Shower. Brace yourself for one of the cutest events of the year — the impending birth of baby owls. Each year the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey (which focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of Florida’s raptors, such as bald eagles, ospreys, owls and falcons) throws a Baby Owl Shower as a fundraiser to help cover the facility’s increased costs during baby-bird season. That means a day of fun and educational activities for the whole family, and non-releasable baby raptors will be available to view. This year’s shower, on May 11
from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is free if you bring an item from the center’s online wish list. 1101 Audubon Way, Maitland. 407-644-0190. fl.audubon.org. Run for the Trees: Jeannette Genius McKean Memorial 5K. This popular foot race, held this year on April 27 at 7:30 a.m., begins at Showalter Field, 2525 Cady Way. But the last mile and the finish are through the privately owned Genius Preserve, which is open to the public only for this annual event. Shuttle buses return runners to the starting line and parking lot; all finishers receive a young tree to plant. Registration, which ranges from $33 to $40 per person, is limited to 1,800 people. Proceeds support the Winter Park Tree Replacement Fund. 407-896-1160. trackshack.com. Watershed Cleanup. Keep Winter Park Beautiful is seeking volunteers to help clean up lakes Mizell, Sylvan and Osceola. The April 6 project, which runs from 8 to 11 a.m., involves picking up litter in and around the lakes. Kayakers and paddle-boarders are welcome. Volunteers are asked to meet at Dinky Dock Park (410 Ollie Avenue); there they’ll be provided with breakfast, a T-shirt, snacks and water. The city will also supply litter grabbers, safety vests, gloves and garbage bags. Participants are urged to carpool, bring a reusable water bottle and wear closed-toe shoes plus a hat and long pants. 407599-3364. To register for this free event, visit cityofwinterpark.eventbrite.com.
The Place as Metaphor:
Revisit collection favorites, works rarely on view, and new acquisitions.
Free admission courtesy of rollins.edu/cfam
Jonas Lie, (american, 1880-1940) Dusk on Lower Broadway. Oil on canvas, ca. 1910. Gift of the family in memory of Dr. James B. Thomas, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, Winter Park, Florida. 1957.64
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ARTSBEAT | BY MICHAEL MCLEOD
ARTS EVENTS PUT A SPRING IN MY STEP
A major expansion at Enzian was scuttled due to parking issues, But that disappointment won’t prevent the Florida Film Festival, an Oscar-qualifying, 180-film extravaganza, from having another stellar year.
Don’t get me wrong: Spring is great. I assume people who live in other latitudes are still writing poems about it. So it’s not spring, it’s me. Once I moved to Florida, things between us went south. It was, after all, a love-hate relationship: The more I hated winter, the more I fantasized about spring. Now we have a healthier arrangement. I don’t long for the season, I look forward to it, and not out of desperation but because of four sensible circles on my calendar. Spring brings the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival, the Orlando Museum of Art’s Florida Prize in Contemporary Art exhibition and, my personal favorite, the Florida Film Festival. The art festival, which finished up last month, turns Park Avenue into a curated, open-air celebration of what can happen when paint, clay, fiber, glass, wood, metal, digital wizardry and various other mediums meet up with the imagination of artists from all over the country. The Fringe, a two week-long throwback to traveling-minstrel days, brings dozens of solitary performers and small theatrical troupes from Central Florida and around the world to Loch Haven Park and several nearby venues. This year’s edition of the wildest and wooliest event on the cultural calendar is May 14-27. The newcomer on my list, in its sixth year, is OMA’s Florida Prize (May 31-August 18), which takes advantage of the impressive array of great contemporary artists in this state. It provides a cash prize and a much-needed showcase for their
creations as well as an aesthetic booster-shot for a once-stodgy museum. But I’m a sucker, most of all, for the Florida Film Festival, an Oscar-qualifying 10-day, 180-film extravaganza headquartered at the charming Enzian Theater, an iconic Central Florida institution at 1300 Orlando Avenue. It has been a tough year for the cabaret-style artcinema house and outdoor bar. Hidden away on a leafy enclave just beneath the southwest shore of Lake Maitland, it’s the next best thing to a living room filled with intelligent friends and a wide-screen TV tuned to a station worth watching. The nonprofit theater’s owners had hoped for years to expand the venue from one screen to three to bring in more films and film-buff events. But the plan had to be scrapped, not for lack of enthusiasm and funding, but because of a strategic issue involving parking. Discouraging? Of course. But something tells me that the 28th annual festival, slated April 12-21, will represent a memorable rebound for Enzian and its legions of fans. The film schedule and celebrity guests hadn’t been announced at press time, but presumably by now you are suitably wowed. I’ve always wondered why no one has ever made a film about how the place came to be. It would make a great entry in the festival’s documentary category. Enzian owes its existence to the Tiedtke family, whose scion, the late John Tiedtke, held numerous posts at Rollins College as a teacher, administrator and trustee. He was also a patron of virtually every arts organiza-
tion in Central Florida, and best friends with another powerhouse arts cultivator and colleague, Hugh McKean, president of the college and co-founder, with his wife Jeannette Genius McKean, of the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. Tiedtke’s wife was straight out of a fairy tale. Her name was Sylvia Southard, and she was the stepdaughter of an Austrian Prince, Alfred Hohenlohe. She grew up shuttling back and forth between Vienna and the family’s castle, Schloss Friedstein, high in the Austrian Alps. In February 1945, as World War II was drawing to a close, her family sent her away to a German city that they hoped would be a safe haven: Dresden. Sylvia’s train arrived in the city just as the infamous Allied carpet bombing of the city began. Tens of thousands died. Sylvia was buried beneath wreckage but miraculously survived. She met her future husband after the war, while visiting relatives in Winter Park. The couple married in 1948 and had two children, Philip and Tina, who enjoyed childhood visits to the castle that was part of their mother’s inheritance. In 1985, when Tina took up the cause of creating an alternative movie house for Orlando, her father gave her the seed money for it. But her mother’s heritage is celebrated everywhere you look. A fountain near the entrance is a reproduction of one that’s in the courtyard at Schloss Friedstein. The Eden Bar, next to the lobby, is named after an exclusive nightspot in Vienna. And the theater itself is named after an Alpine flower. It’s a beautiful bloom, though not as widely known as its cousin, edelweiss. It’s also something of a rarity — just like my favorite movie theater. For more information about the Florida Film Festival, visit floridafilmfestival.com. Michael McLeod (email@example.com) is an adjunct instructor in the English department at Rollins College.
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THE POEM | BILLY COLLINS
hen I showed this poem to a friend, he said I should have stopped after the fourth line. I suppose that would have made a point, but I wanted the poem to continue so it could develop the way a blues song does: the repetition, the wait, then the resolution in the last two lines. Many fans have favorites when it comes to blues lines; these days I like, “Nobody loves me but my mother, and she might be jiving too.”
THE BLUES Much of what is said here must be said twice, a reminder that no one takes an immediate interest in the pain of others. Nobody will listen, it would seem, if you simply admit your baby left you this morning and didn’t even stop to say good-bye. But if you sing it again with the help of the band which will now lift you to a higher, more ardent, and beseeching chord,
Billy Collins is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. He served as U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-03) and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. “The Blues” originally appeared in The Art of Drowning by Billy Collins, © 1995. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.
people will not only listen; they will shift to the empathetic edges of their chairs, moved to such acute anticipation by that chord and the delay that follows, they will not be able to sleep unless you release with one finger a scream from the throat of your guitar,
PHOTO BY SUZANNAH GILMAN
turn your head back to the microphone, and let them know you’re a hard-hearted man but that woman’s sure to make you cry.
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